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Selfoss, Iceland
CREDIT: Christian Bickel


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Contact Information

AGU Meetings Department
2000 Florida Avenue, NW
Washington DC 20009 USA
Phone: +1 202-777-7330

AGU Chapman Conference on Volcanism and the Atmosphere

Selfoss, Iceland
10–15 June 2012

Conference Objectives and General Description

Volcanic eruptions can have a profound effect on the Earth’s atmosphere and environment on all time scales.  From being the source of most gases in the atmosphere over geologic time to producing climate change detectable over the past millennia, to threatening aviation, volcanic eruptions provide a strong link between Earth’s activity and its influence on the atmosphere and human history.  To better understand these phenomena, the International Association of Volcanism and Chemistry of the Earth’s Interior (IAVCEI) and the International Association for Meteorology and Atmospheric Sciences (IAMAS) formed the Commission on Volcanism and the Earth’s Atmosphere at the AGU Chapman Conference on “Climate, Volcanism and Global Change” in Hilo Hawaii in 1992 following the largest eruption of the 20th Century, Mt. Pinatubo in 1991.  On June 17-21, 2002, the same groups sponsored a second 10th anniversary Chapman Conference in Santorini, Greece, entitled “Chapman Conference on Volcanism and the Earth's Atmosphere”, which also resulted in publication of an AGU monograph.

In the decade since the last meeting in 2002 there have been significant developments in this area in both the academic and broader arenas. We now understand the impacts of volcanic eruptions on climate and aviation better. For example, we have learned more about the winter warming effect on Northern Hemisphere continents, about effects on ozone depletion, the effects of volcanic ash clouds on aviation routes, about the potential for supervolcanoes to disrupt civilization, and about possible limitations on the lifetime and impact of volcanic aerosol clouds. We have also seen proposals for geoengineering schemes to place sulfate aerosols into the stratosphere to counter global warming, for which volcanic eruptions serve as the most important analog, as well as the paralysis of aviation in the North Atlantic region for over 10 days by the 2010 eruption of Eyjafjallajökull.

To review this progress and stimulate new work in this important area, we are holding a third Chapman Conference on volcanic eruptions and the atmosphere, this time broadening it to specifically include aviation. The meeting will be in Iceland, near the sites of one of the most important eruptions of the last few centuries, the Laki eruption of AD 1783, the 2010 eruption of Eyjafjallajökull and the 2011 Grímsvötn eruption, which also disrupted aviation. This conference will also commemorate the 100th anniversary of the 1912 Katmai (Novarupta) eruption in Alaska, and devote one session to that eruption, including the effects of high-latitude eruptions on climate.  2012 is also the 100th anniversary of the establishment of the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory.


Michael R. Rampino, New York University, USA,

Alan Robock, Rutgers University, USA,

Thorvaldur Thordarson, University of Edinburgh, Scotland,

Program Committee

Claudia Timmreck, Max-Planck-Institute for Meteorology, Germany,

Fred Prata, Norwegian Institute for Air Research, Norway,

Hans-F. Graf, University of Cambridge, UK,

Stephen Self, The Open University, UK,

Tamsin A. Mather, University of Oxford, UK,

Financial Support

NSF      IAVCEI      Atmospheric Sciences Section

Volcanology, Geochemistry & Petrology

Travel Support

The travel grant application deadline has passed.

Further Information

If you would like to receive future updates about this conference, e-mail or call the AGU Meetings Department at +1-202-777-7330.

For information about the scientific program, please contact: Alan Robock,