University of Cambridge > Talks.cam > Quaternary Discussion Group (QDG) > Volcanic eruptions, climate and humans: How lessons from the past can help us to prepare for the future

Volcanic eruptions, climate and humans: How lessons from the past can help us to prepare for the future

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Large volcanic eruptions are a major driver of natural climate variability responsible for numerous cooling extremes and throughout human history have often been followed by severe famines and pandemics. Spanning from the last glacial maximum into the future, I present case studies of how volcanic eruptions can impact our climate with implications for human societies in past, present and future. From pre-anthropogenic ozone depletion to “failures” of the critical Nile summer flood causing famines in Ancient Egypt, I track the influence of volcanic eruptions on climate and human societies and demonstrate that the significance of volcanic eruptions goes beyond a short-lived reduction of surface temperatures (e.g., “Year without a Summer”).

This talk is part of the Quaternary Discussion Group (QDG) series.

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