UH research reveals how volcanic eruptions affect El Niño

A thick, dense plume of SO2 and other volcanic gases billows from the lava fountains at fissure 8 on June 19, 2018. (USGS photo/P. Nadeau)

El Niño events — major warmings of the tropical Pacific Ocean occurring every two to seven years — have significant environmental and societal impacts in North and South America and other parts of the world. Previous research has shown volcanic eruptions affect El Niño-Southern Oscillation cycles but the mechanisms of that connection have not been clear.