VOLCANO: COST proposal (building a European network)

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COST proposal (building a European network)
From: lavigne@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Dear colleagues,

I'm currently working on the environmental (and eventually economic and social) effects of large volcanic eruptions in Human History. I?m planning to answer to the European Open Call for Proposals COST, a tool that aims to network and coordinate nationally funded research activities. The budget (up to 100 Keuros per year for 4 years) is restricted to meetings and conferences between the consortium members.
Please find a first draft of the project?s abstract (which needs to be improved and corrected...). A preliminary proposal (only 3 pages) is needed for September 30th. Before this deadline, I need to provide a list of European researchers who wish to be involved in this project (coming from at least 5 European countries). If you are interested to be involved in this project and if you belong to a European institution, don't hesitate to contact me. Colleagues from some non European countries are allowed to be officially involved in the COST projects, e.g. New-Zealand (see the COST website :

Project abstract
Violent volcanic explosions produce massive stratospheric aerosol veil that may blanket the globe and lower the temperature for several months or years. In human History, frequent cold and rain on summer time led to severe crop damage, famines and epidemics throughout much of Europe. In addition climate modelers recently suggested that large-scale tropical eruption may be responsible to warm winters in Northern America, Siberia and northwest Europe, as evidenced after the 1991 eruption of Pinatubo volcano.
The year of occurrence of ancient eruptions have been documented through several proxys, such as Greenland and Antarctic ice cores, dendrochronology, palaeohydrology, etc. Historical chronicles may help to identify climate anomalies such as cold summers or cool winters. In addition they may provide useful data on stratospheric dry fogs, which manifest themselves as a persistently cloudy aspect of the sky, and also through an apparently total darkening of the eclipsed Moon.
Despite a large panel of methods, the climatic and environmental impacts of large explosive eruptions in human History remain poorly known. They are usually identified at the local or regional scale using a single proxy (i.e. ice cores or tree rings). However the global effect of violent volcanic eruptions has been rarely assessed, except through aerosol dispersion models with a wide range of uncertainties. A closer collaboration between Earth sciences, atmospheric sciences, and social sciences will improve our knowledge on the environmental impacts of past volcanic eruption, and help to assess the influence of future eruptions on climate models.
Therefore we propose to build a European network which will gather scientists working on the environmental and possibly the economic and social impacts of past volcanic eruptions. A broad range of disciplines will be concerned by this consortium involving climate modelers, dendrochonologists, geologists, historians, archeologists, geographers etc.
Data gathered through various methods will fed a database on the environmental impacts of the largest volcanic eruptions (VEI>5) in Human History. This database will be linked to a Geographical Information System in order to: (1) provide a global view on the spatial distribution of environmental disturbances due to the volcanic activity; (2) to better anticipate the effects of a large-scale explosive eruptions in the future; and (3) to identify the region of still unknown volcanic sources of large-scale historical eruptions through a new (?) method tentatively called ?volcanic inversion?.

Franck Lavigne
Professeur, Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne
Laboratoire de Géographie Physique
1 place A. Briand, 92195 Meudon cedex
Tél : 06 26 53 02 27
Email : franck.lavigne@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx


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