Climate Change Impacts and Risks in the Anthropocene (C-CIA)
Saas-Fee, Switzerland, August 11-15, 2020
Impacts of large volcanic eruptions on climate and societies: proxies, models and solutions for the future

The Saas-Fee workshop

The Saas-Fee meetings are annual events that focus on topics dealing with Climate Change Impacts and Risks in the Anthropocene, and are organized by the C-CIA research team at the Institute for Environmental Sciences of the University of Geneva, Switzerland.
The 2020 workshop will be dedicated to the impacts of large volcanic eruptions on climate and societies.

Large volcanic eruptions can inject massive amounts of sulphuric gases into the stratosphere. Sulphate aerosols, which are produced in the stratosphere by the oxidation of these gases, can substantially perturb the Earth’s radiative balance and cool the troposphere and hence surface temperatures on time scales of months to years. Such cooling has been held responsible for crop failures and consequent rises in grain prices, thereby contributing to subsistence crisis and famines. The explosive eruption of Tambora in April 1815 – the largest event of the last 500 years – is illustrative of this, with strong evidence for a causal linkage between extreme weather experienced in 1816 in parts of the northern hemisphere (the “year without summer”), poor harvests, sharp rises in grain prices in Europe and America and the last “great subsistence crisis of the Western world”. As no “Tambora-scale” eruption has occurred during the 20th century, we lack experience of the potential impacts of large eruption on modern societies. This crucial lack of knowledge calls for in-depth transdisciplinary research.

The August 2020 Saas-Fee workshop will tackle questions related to the dating and documentation of past eruptions with different proxy sources, their modeling, the spatial and temporal consequences that large eruptions have on climate and weather extremes, as well as the impacts of such events on socio-economic processes, production and trade.

The workshop will take place from August 11 to 15, 2020 in Saas-Fee, Switzerland. The venue is co-organized by the PIs of large ongoing projects dedicated to the workshop’s topic: Prof. Markus Stoffel, University of Geneva (SNSF Sinergia project “CALDERA”), Dr. Myriam Khodri, LOCEAN IPSL Paris (SNSF Sinergia project “CALDERA”), Prof. Michael Sigl, University of Berne (ERC Consolidator Grant “THERA” project), and Prof. Kirstin Krüger, University of Oslo (“VIKINGS” project).

Registration to the workshop is not possible at this stage. We aim to bring 25-30 key scientists working in the fields of volcanoes, climate, modeling and societies together to discuss big remaining challenges and to jointly work on solutions. By exchanging ideas in dedicated sessions and breakout meetings, we will take advantage of the synergies between different ongoing projects and cross-disciplinary exchanges.

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