The ash plume from the eruption of the Kliuchevskoi Volcano in the Kamchatka peninsula, seen from the Space Shuttle Endeavour in Oct 1994 –

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The amount of carbon that comes out of a volcano is immense (much more than humans create). The amount of minute particles put into the atmosphere is quite immense too (but depends on the force of the eruption how high into the atmosphere they go). There are a few competing hypothesis, for volcanic activity and its impact on the environment. First is that the particles sent into the atmosphere reflect light and thus reflect energy, causing global cooling. The second is that the carbon adds to trapping the energy onto the planet causing global warming. Unfortunately, the statistics available are usually manipulated to take the side (warming or cooling) of the person using them, or discounted all together (because they don’t match the hypothesis). However, all periods of Global Cooling, have come immediately following periods of increased volcanic activity. At least that I am aware of..

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