Iceland's glacially embedded volcano, Eyjafjallajokull, may have grounded planes across Europe for the best part of a week because the risk to jet engines of flying through its cloud of ash, but the total amounts of ash and greenhouse gases emitted by the volcano are a mere fraction, about 1%, of those emitted by Mount Pinatubo back in 1991. Mt. Pinatubo in The Philippines produced a plume of ash 21 miles high and 250 miles wide within two hours and in just two weeks had spread across the globe producing an average temperature drop of 0.5 degrees Celsius. Eyjafjallajokull's release of a mere 150 million tons of ash, dust and greenhouse gases is therefore unlikely to have any significant impact on global climate.
The littlest volcano