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Keywords:

  • stratospheric aerosol;
  • volcanic eruptions;
  • climate;
  • global warming

Abstract

The slow-down in global warming over the last decade has lead to significant debate about whether the causes are of natural or anthropogenic origin. Using an ensemble of HadGEM2-ES coupled climate model simulations we investigate the impact of overlooked modest volcanic eruptions. We deduce a global mean cooling of around −0.02 to −0.03 K over the period 2008–2012. Thus while these eruptions do cause a cooling of the Earth and may therefore contribute to the slow-down in global warming, they do not appear to be the sole or primary cause.