Possible Mitigation of Global Cooling due to Supervolcanic Eruption via Intentional Release of Fluorinated Gases Institutional Repository Document uri icon


  • Supervolcanic eruptions induced abrupt global cooling (roughly at a rate of ~1C/year lasting for years to decades), such as the prehistoric Yellowstone eruption released, by some estimates, SO2 about 100 times higher than the 1991 Mt. Pinatubo eruption. An abrupt global cooling of several C, even if only lasting a few years, would present immediate and drastic stress on biodiversity and food production - posing a global catastrophic risk to human society. Using a simple climate model, this paper discusses the possibility of counteracting supervolcanic cooling with the intentional release of greenhouse gases. Although well-known longer-lived compounds such as CO2 and CH are found to be unsuitable for this purpose, select fluorinated gases (F-gases), either individually or in combinations, may be released at gigaton scale to offset most of the supervolcanic cooling. We identify candidate F-gases (viz. C4F6 and CH3F) and derive radiative and chemical properties of ideal compounds matching specific cooling events. Geophysical constraints on manufacturing and stockpiling due to mineral availability are considered alongside technical and economic implications based on present-day market assumptions. The consequences of F-gas release in perturbing atmospheric chemistry are discussed in the context of those due to the supervolcanic eruption itself. The conceptual analysis here suggests the possibility of mitigating certain global catastrophic risks via intentional intervention.

author list (cited authors)

  • Xu, Y., Ribar, N. P., Schade, G. W., Lockley, A. J., Zhang, Y. G., Sachnik, J., ... Velders, G.

citation count

  • 0

complete list of authors

  • Xu, Yangyang||Ribar, Nathanael Philip||Schade, Gunnar W||Lockley, Andrew John||Zhang, Yi Ge||Sachnik, Jeffrey||Yu, Pengfei||Hu, Jianxin||Velders, Guus JM

Book Title

  • Authorea

publication date

  • May 2023