Undersea Volcanic Eruption In Tonga

Guest post by Steven Goddard
http://media3.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/photo/2009/03/18/PH2009031804344.jpg

The Washington Post reports today:

An undersea volcano erupts off the coast of Tonga, tossing clouds of smoke, steam and ash thousands of feet (meters) into the sky above the South Pacific ocean, Tuesday, March 17, 2009. The eruption was at sea about 6 miles (10 kilometers) from the southwest coast of the main island of Tongatapu an area where up to 36 undersea volcanoes are clustered

Besides the unusual feet to meters conversion in the quote above, I found it interesting because the SST maps show a warm anomaly in that region, and extending off to the east. Is that anomaly a result or coincidence?
sst_volcano1

http://weather.unisys.com/surface/sst_anom.html

How much influence do volcanoes have on local climates?

We know that the Antarctic Peninsula (advertised as the fastest warming place on the planet) is a volcanic chain which has seen recent activity.

Noted Antarctic expert Eric Steig tells us that Volcanoes under the ice can’t affect climate on the surface, 2 miles above! This is indeed true and interesting, because CO2 on the surface reportedly can affect the melting of the basal ice, two miles below.

According to some of the best AGW minds, increases of 0.0001 atmospheric CO2 concentration may be more powerful at affecting localized micro-climates than are 2000 degree volcanoes.

In another volcanically active area, the Gakkel Ridge, which was shown to have eruptions last year, the possibility also exists for localized warming. Here is a schematic of the Gakkel Ridge sea floor:

http://www.nsf.gov/od/lpa/news/03/images/gakkel_ridge.jpg

From the National Science Foundation - Click for larger image

However in that case there is the claim by oceanographic experts that it is impossible for the sea ice above to be affected due to stratifed water layers and thus making the released heat “unable to communicate” to the surface.

Perhaps that is true, but does that stratification remain in a steady state? And is such an inability to “communicate” heat from the depths a feature of our oceans globally?

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202 thoughts on “Undersea Volcanic Eruption In Tonga

  1. Charles Darwin proposed that coral atolls [e.g., Tonga] were formed by extinct undersea volcanoes. As the extinct volcanic cone gradually subsided, coral built on it and formed the atoll: click [scroll to the last paragraph, p. 232.]

    There was much dispute among scientists about Darwin’s hypothesis, but eventually Darwin was proved right. So the current volcanic activity may eventually bring about a new coral atoll.

    The sea level isn’t currently rising, and when it did rise in the recent past, the increase was simply part of a natural ebb and flow. As can be seen in this picture, the sea level has not changed much from the mid-1800’s. So the argument that AGW is causing the sea level to rise is falsified.

  2. Note the cool La Nina-like conditions milling about around the equator just off the West coast of South America

  3. Where there is smoke there is fire… where there is steam there is heat!!! I would think that the super heated steam would have much more effect than the CO2 contained in the “smoke”.

  4. I found it interesting because the SST maps show a warm anomaly in that region, and extending off to the east. Is that anomaly a result or coincidence?

    Quite some time ago I developed an interest in submarine volcanic activity. At the time I had, and still have, several questions regarding their effect on…

    1) Sea temperatures

    2) Sequestered CO2 & CH4

    3) New volcanic emissions

    Logic tells me that the depth of a volcano would alter its impact. Some say they have no impact. I can see that as true for a volcano at great depth. Certainly one in the Marianas Trench over 30,000 feet deep would have minimal to no effect. However, at shallower depths they must.

    The problem of course is that there are 10,000 or more submarine volcanoes, we don’t have an accurate inventory, nor are they really monitored with exception of a few.

    With the oceans playing a major role in the earth’s climate it would seem that man needs a greater understanding of them inclusive of submarine volcanic activity. Currently we have about 70 major (VEI 4 or larger) land based volcano eruptions per century.
    http://penoflight.com/climatebuzz/Misc/MajorVol1.jpg (data points are at 50 yr increments.)

    It would stand to reason that there should have been about 600 – 700 major ( VEI 4 or larger ) submarine volcano eruptions last century, if not more.

  5. So maybe these ocean temperature maps may serve a greater purpose…detecting imminent volcanic activity?

  6. I would have thought that as heat rises, or at least it used to, although not necessarily evenly & linearly the heat from a volcanic sub-surface eruption would find its way upwards some where or other via convection currents! I must say I have not heard of heat sinking before but I’m always willing to learn something new every day!

    O/T, I watched a programme on the History channel a few weeks ago now, it was a repeat of an Horizon programme about freak waves & was a little old, early 2004-5 I’m guessing as I missed the first 5 mins thro lunch & the last 5 mins because my wife made me go shopping, huh! An expert from where else but the Met Office was filmed saying that his computer model showed that these freak waves occurred only once in every 10,000 years! Yet further study by others later in the programme showed that these 1/10,000 year occurrences were actually happening pretty much regular as clockwork in the right ocean current/wind conditions! (I daresay they sneaked in a touch of global warming at the end) A sort of over blown wind over tide scenario if you like. So experts aren’t always right to trust their computer models then?

  7. I was intrigued by Smokey’s post and the link to the 1800’s sea level mark. This may not be conclusive because the tectonic plates also rise and fall, right? As I understand it the Indian plate is pushing up above the Eurasian plate (from memory, probably wrong) — does this mean that Bangladesh will rise out of the sea and we don’t need to worry about all those millions of people inundated by rising water? Inquiring numbskulls want to know :).

  8. Noted Antarctic expert Eric Steig tells us that Volcanoes under the ice can’t affect climate on the surface, 2 miles above! This is indeed true and interesting, because CO2 on the surface reportedly can affect the melting of the basal ice, two miles below.

    ————–

    Is this anything like being told that the cold phase of the PDO can cancel out AGW for up to 30 years, but the warm phase of the PDO has absolutely no affect on AGW.

  9. So, we have the big question:

    What heats the ocean up more:

    – Air is 0.002658 °C warmer than usual

    – Gigantic volcanic eruption

  10. The mean geothermal flux on earth is 60 mW/m^2;
    The mean solar flux on earth is 240W/m^2.
    Volcans DO NOT AND CAN NOT influence global warming

  11. It sounds like the Gakkel Ridge is one of the least active of the oceanic rifts. Stratification sounds plausible, as the heat that is slowly released is mixed by ocean currents. (My mind wants to insist that the warming waters would rise to the surface.) Since it’s been happening for millions of years it would seem unlikely to have much effect on the surface sea ice; such an effect would have been noticed long ago, before the AGW belief system came about. It may very well be that while there is some warming going on, it’s just not enough to overcome persistent ocean currents. This sounds much different than the Tonga volcanic event. This seems to have been a much more explosive event, with heat being injected into the ocean faster than currents could disperse. Perhaps it could cause a localized temporary warming anomaly to appear.

  12. Undersea Volcano’s are whats causing what ever ice melt that may be happening in the Artic and the Antarctic.This is one of many dirty little secret that the goverment and the media doesn’t want us to know about.Thank about it .How can ice melt at 40below ZERO????? For more on this go iceagenow.com.

  13. Bob,

    The surface expression of the volcano has just appeared, but chances are that there has been anomalous geothermal activity in the region for some time prior to the visible eruption.

  14. Nice use of graphics, Steven!
    A correlation of magma erupting above the crust but deep in the ocean and a warm anomaly near by makes more sense to me than rising CO2 correlating to rising temps. There are several examples of active submarine volcanoes and anomalous warmth. Back in the 80s, the British Antarctic Survey pointed out that deep volcanic activity was “lubricating” a part of the Antarctic ice shelf from the bottom, allowing it to slip more easily.

    Let’s simplify this: magma at 700°C to 1300°C erupts from a crack in the crust and comes in contact with sea water at 7°C. Will the water . . .
    A) . . . stay the same temperature
    B) . . . become warmer.
    C) . . . turn into ice.
    D) none of the above.

    Stratification notwithstanding, That great a difference in temperatures should influence the temperatures of adjacent thermoclines up several strata.

  15. Lee Kington:

    “The problem of course is that there are 10,000 or more submarine volcanoes, we don’t have an accurate inventory, nor are they really monitored with exception of a few.”

    Actually, it was recently discovered that there are over 200,000 undersea volcanoes. 39,000 of them are over 1,000 meters [3,280 feet] high: source

    alexandriu doru, these volcanoes are undoubtedly emitting astronomical amounts of various gases into the ocean and atmosphere, which neither you nor anyone else can presently quantify.

    The fact that the UN/IPCC doesn’t account for 200,000+ submarine volcanoes [and is apparently even unaware of their existence] casts major doubts on the IPCC’s conclusions and competence.

    What else should we expect from a politically appointed body?

  16. As I understand it the Indian plate is pushing up above the Eurasian plate (from memory, probably wrong) — does this mean that Bangladesh will rise out of the sea and we don’t need to worry about all those millions of people inundated by rising water? Inquiring numbskulls want to know :)

    These two links should set you on the right track:

    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/environment/article4440982.ece

    Bangladesh should continue to gain land mass if their damn projects go ahead and sediment continues to accrue at the same rate. For years we used to see images of Bangladeshis clinging to branches as their communities were swept away by annual floods. These images haven’t been seen for some time.

    The Indian Government produced a climate report entitled: ‘National Action Plan on Climate Change.’

    Compared to the hysteria we in the “advanced” West receive from our dishonest, misguided and politically motivated media, the Indian report is a breath of fresh air.

    Section 1.4 deals with ‘Observed Changes in Climate and Weather Events in India’ and states that, “No firm link between the documented changes described below and warming due to anthropogenic climate change has yet been established:”

    The changes in climate are put down to natural variability and is presented in a balanced manner. Where they have seen rainfall increase in one region, they have seen it decrease elsewhere. Same with sea levels.

    http://pmindia.nic.in/Pg01-52.pdf

  17. It is more likely the influence of the shallow water around the cluster of volcanoes being warmed by the sun that causes the hot spot. It takes a tremendous amount of energy to water a large volume of water, and volcanic activity, though intensely hot, simply doesn’t contain enough heat energy to warm a large volume of water by a signficant amount. The eruptions and geothermal energy may cause localized changes around each vent or each eruptive area, but there is not enough energy there to warm a large area of the ocean.

  18. The picture that shows the topography between New Zealand and the location of the volcano is interesting. It appears that the heat at the volcano may have followed the underwater ridge and caused the upwelling of the very cold water to the east of New Zealand evident in the sst anomoly representation.

  19. Aron (08:29:09) :

    “What is that anomaly to the east of Argentina?”
    I was in argentina last february and they were complaining of the drought and I heard there that sea temperatures were 4 degrees below normal at the La Plata beach. Check another source apart from NOAA’ s yellows and oranges.
    There are and will be droughts in argentina:

    http://www.perfil.com/contenidos/2009/01/30/noticia_0017.html

    I posted:
    Adolfo Giurfa (04:38:19) :

    For the known argentinian geologist Miguel Gonzales, in his studies in the “Salinas del bebedero”, a salt lake in Argentina, http://www.springerlink.com/content/m11m129238u61484/
    all these weather changes coincide with solar minimums like the Maunder minimum, which produced drought in the argentinian “pampa” (plains), and which it is happening again now. So, in general, we have different weather systems: one west of the andes and the other east of the andes.

  20. The anomaly developed before the eruption occurred:

    It would be surprising if an eruption like this one (not very big) could have such an effect on ocean temps – that’s a massive volume of water to heat up to produce an anomaly like that in the first place!

  21. “alexandriu doru (09:00:27) :

    The mean geothermal flux on earth is 60 mW/m^2;
    The mean solar flux on earth is 240W/m^2.
    Volcans DO NOT AND CAN NOT influence global warming”

    They don’t have an impact on climate (at least not until they erupt) but they certainly screw up the temperature data when they become active.

  22. Here the abstract:
    Miguel A. González1 and Nora I. Maidana2

    (1) CONICET, Servicio Geológico Minero Argentino and Carl C:Zon Caldenius Foundation, C.C. 289 – Sucursal 13 (B) –, 1413 Buenos Aires, Argentina
    (2) Dpto. de Biologí, Fac. de Cs, Universidad de Buenos Aires and CONICET, Exactas y Naturales – Pabellón 2, Ciudad Universitaria, 1428 Buenos Aires, Argentina

    Abstract We present a climatic reconstruction of Holocene lacustrine episodes in the Salinas del Bebedero basin (Argentina), based on geological and diatom information.
    Morphological, sedimentological and diatom evidence between 11600 ± 140 yr BP and 325 ± 95 yr BP, allowed us to interpret the paleoenvironments of the basin. Episodes of high energy (sandy levels) are linked to large inflow of meltwater through the Desaguadero River, related to development of glaciers on the Andes. This inflow is characterized by peaks of relative abundance of the brackish water diatom Cyclotella choctawatcheeana Prasad. The values of C. choctawatcheeana decrease in deposits of low energy (clay levels), where it co-dominates with oligohalobous Fragilaria and Epithemia spp.
    To the last two peaks of large inflow of meltwater, radiocarbon dates corrected to sidereal ages, are AD 1280/1420 and AD 1443/1656. These ages agree with two cold episodes clearly recorded in dendrological studies from the Patagonian Andes and were correlated to the Little Ice Age. Thus, older Holocene episodes of large inflow of water to the basin were correlated with the Neoglacial Advances defined by Mercer (1976) for the Andes.

  23. We sailed through the porphiry from the last eruption in 2006. It swept across the seas to the north islands of Fiji., But the eruption was nearer to tonga and there’s a new island forming.

  24. Smokey, this undersea volcoes business isn’t about AGW, it’s about maths.

    Do the maths! Calculate the volume of sea water involved, the energy needed to warm it by the required amount, and any conceivable figure you can think of for the output of the volcano.

    Lets us know the result……

  25. Warmer water is less dense…. it would have to rise. And all that heat has to go somewhere… it isn’t simply disappearing.

  26. “Volcans DO NOT AND CAN NOT influence global warming”

    Ya, well go tell that to Mt Pinatubo !

    Or NASA

    “Large-scale volcanic activity may last only a few days, but the massive outpouring of gases and ash can influence climate patterns for years.”

    http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/Features/Volcano/

    No need to apologize for spreading rumors, false ones at that. We have come to expect it from Believers.

  27. OT… Shell getting out of alternative energy at ICECAP:

    The company said that many alternative technologies did not offer attractive investment opportunities. Linda Cook, Shell’s executive director of gas and power, said: “If there aren’t investment opportunities which compete with other projects we won’t put money into it. We are businessmen and women. If there were renewables [which made money] we would put money into it.”

  28. Even if sub-sea currents stratify the heat from active undersea volcanoes, that is still extra heat being dispersed into the ocean. A LOT of it. That is sure to have some effect. Oh, and unless the laws of physics have fundementally changed, I believe I am right in saying that heat rises? So I cannot understand how the AGW proponents believe that, somehow, ocean currents taking a tiny increase in average air temps can drag that heat downwards, many hundreds of feet, and it still be warm when the water gets to the cold sea bed. Thus hiding “global warming” and putting it into a “pipeline” to release later. Even if the laws of physics have changed radically meaning that heat now sinks and cold rises, surely, for every litre of warm sea-water dragged down to the sea-bed, another litre of cold is presumably rising elsewhere and warming?

    I will believe that thousands of active undersea volcanoes have NO effect on climate, when I see Dr Hansen walk barefoot across a sea of flowing lava without it burning his feet!

  29. Undersea volcanoes cannot really be responsible for any long term trend in global temperatures unless there is good evidence that that type of vulcanism in general is increasing or decreasing in line with observed data. Undersea volcanos will have been erupting throughout geolgical time and can only be factored in if we can confirm trends. Is there any good data on any such trends out there?

    Certainly undersea eruptions can have a significant local effect but hard to see how this effects the globe.

    Alan

  30. Peter Hearnden,

    You may be deliberately misunderstanding. If not, I’ll explain it for you:

    Neither you, nor the UN/IPCC, nor anyone else, knows much about what is going on beneath the world’s oceans. In just the last few years the number of volcanoes discovered has gone from around ten thousand to over two hundred thousand. Despite that heat source, what little we do know indicates that the world’s oceans are cooling, not warming.

    Some 70% of the Earth is covered by water, yet we know very little about the dynamics of the ocean floor. And we don’t know nearly enough about the interaction between the world’s oceans and the atmosphere.

    Favoring $Trillion policy decisions based on inadequate knowledge of what occurs on the vast ocean floor — along with incomplete and often erroneous knowledge of the remaining terrestrial portion of the planet — is a flagrant waste of money.

    Spending trillions of dollars without having a better knowledge of the ocean/atmosphere interface, or even good a knowledge of the source and sink of the vast majority of naturally occurring CO2, is a fool’s errand at best — if not outright dishonest.

  31. okay, the distance between even the small yellow area one grid-block west of the arrow (est. 26S, 163W) and not the large anomaly that the arrow points towards, is nearly 900 miles from the island of tonga!

    also, this from the article raises some questions “Large amounts of pumice thrown up by the erupting volcano would likely clog beaches on the southern coast of nearby Fiji islands within a short time, Mafi said.”

    Fiji is NW of Tonga, so that must be some indication of the oceanic currents. that’s only 180 degrees off of the direction of the anomaly.

    details, details.

  32. Lee Kington (08:34:15) :

    Logic tells me that the depth of a volcano would alter its impact. Some say they have no impact. I can see that as true for a volcano at great depth. Certainly one in the Marianas Trench over 30,000 feet deep would have minimal to no effect. However, at shallower depths they must.

    Defining effect as “emission, transmission, or discharge of energy” then the depth of the volcano does not alter the “effect”. Heat is transferred and water is always heated by underwater volcanos, regardless of depth. Now the “impact” of heating water at various depths is more difficult to ascertain because the affect may not be immediately detectable.

  33. Speaking of new island formation… the formation of land above sea level would contribute to global warming since it becomes a new surface to absorb heat from the sun. When an ice age is on the way, the oceans retreive and expose more land that should absorb also more solar energy and warm up the atmosphere again. But this would lean to a cancellation of cooling if NOAA was right in thinking that the irradiance of the sun is constant and has no bearing on global warming.

    So considering the exposure of new land as the planet cools and the fact that it still cools and go into an ice-age shows clearly that the sun is responsible for climate change.

  34. re Peter Herndon 10:17:33,

    The ‘maths':

    To warm an area 500km by 500km by 1 meter (warm water spreads out over the surface) a total of 2.5 deg. C requires 625 x 10*15 calories = 625 megatons of TNT. (Please recheck my ‘maths’).

    My quick search didn’t find an energy equivalent for a typical volcano, but the Krakatoa explosion was rated at 200 megatons.

    These numbers are certainly in the same ballpark. Maybe someone here can say whether the energy from an explosive volcano is more or less than a long-lasting lava flow volcano.

  35. Fox News just reported a 7.9 earthquake in Tonga, with a tsunami warning. Could this be a Krakatoa type event?

  36. Not sure exactly where you were going with this post , but here is some basic, simplistic math.
    Assumptions:

    -Background water temp of 50 deg F (average of 30 at sea floor, 70 at surface)
    – Maximum temp of 256 F that could be attained (prorated from sea level to 3500 psi = 8000 ft of water @ std gradient of 0.434 psi/ft)
    see http://www.engineeringtoolbox.com/boiling-point-water-d_926.html
    – Maximum delta T = 256 -50 = 206 deg F (this is a maximum, actual will be lower
    – Effected area – 2 sq mi (this would be optomistic based on the photo)
    – Volume effected = 8000ft*2sq mi = 3.03 cubic miles of water

    If the maximum heat were spread out out 10,000 sq miles (100 by 10 miles) with the same ocean depth (8000 ft) (15,151 cubic miles) – which, based on the sat ocean temp anomaly is certainly underestimating the anomaly area, what would be the expected delta T ?

    =(3.03/15151)*206 = 0.04 deg F

    Observed anomaly = 2.7 deg C (4.86 deg F) – Observed is 121.5 times bigger than the calculations! And this was with optomistic assumptions. The realized anomaly would almost certainly be less.

    Obviously a lot of assumptions here, but this no where even close to in the ballpark – There simiply is not nearly enough heat to make a difference. Same calculations would apply elsewhere – the fundamental problem being you can’t heat water that much before in changes to vapor – even with the high pressures of the ocean depths. Vapor escapes to the atmosphere, releasing heat to the atmosphere, not the water column

    My point – Volcanic heating of ocean water & modification of climate appears to be a very very minor effect – right up there with CO2 ;0

  37. Let’s see if the volcano party keeps going on. Last year the Chaiten Volcano plume crossed all south america and its still active. If R.W. Fairbridge (link above) was right then we’ll see more of the kind along in this minimum.

  38. Smokey. Good points. To say ” NEVER HAVE and NEVER WILL”, exhibits a little hubris, IMO. When observations are prefaced with” it appears”, or “possibly”, i have a great deal more faith in the conclusions. The author is acknowledging that what we don’t know, greatly exceeds the sum of what we do know. As i have aged,(60), i am less and less certain of things that i “knew”, when i was 20. The addition of heat seems likely to have some effect. To argue otherwise seems counter intuitive.

  39. correction. Make that DO NOT AND CANNOT. I believe that statement exhibits an arrogance that should be toned down in public debate.

  40. Having watched otters diving through holes caused by geo-thermal heating in the ice in Yellowstone on TV the other night one can’t help thinking that there will be some effect at the surface. One would also think that this probably wasn’t a digital event and there would have been some heating at the sea floor for a fair bit of time. Most continental volcanoes give some signs that they are changing.

    Isn’t there a deep cold current flowing roughly north in that area of the Pacific? Is that going to have an effect on where any anomaly would show itself at the surface?
    Also isn’t that area on the cusp of where the the prevailing winds in the pacific blow either SE Trades or Westerlies? Thereby confusing the issue further.

    I am interested in anyones thoughts as there are a lot of ingrediants in this mixture.

  41. To facilitate things, here the Abstract from R.W.Fairbridge:

    ABSTRACT
    The largest volcanic eruptions since AD 1800 correlate with periods
    of enhanced seismicity , changes in the earth’ s spin rate, and the
    Chandler wobble. Furthermore, a marked increase in the number of
    major eruptions apparently occurred during the Maunder Sunspot Minimum
    (1645-1715) at a time when global temperatures were depressed.
    Solar activity might trigger volcanism through solar-induced climate
    change which could lead to variations in global spin rate and hence to
    increased crustal stresses and seismic and volcanic potential . Such
    solar activity may be modulated by planetary tidal effects which
    might additionally lead to enhanced crustal stress through direct influence
    on the earth’s axial tilt, wobble and rate of rotation .

  42. There has just been a warning issued about a 7.9 magnitude earthquake and possible tsunami at Tonga…

  43. I think it will be more interesting to see what happens in the next few days (weeks?) to sea surface temperatures in the area. Lava gives off enough heat as it cools and solidifies to have a significant impact, according to this guy’s calculations, though I don’t know where his numbers come from:

    http://www.bobkrumm.com/blog/?p=1927

  44. Peter Hearndon,
    Why don’t you do the math and enlighten us? You can provide a proof that it is not about AGW because at any conceivable level of output volcanoes won’t heat the ocean. That’s what you said when put in logical formulation.

  45. OT, perhaps, but an earthquake of magnitude 7.9 occurred an hour and a half ago in the same general area.

  46. OT, but please support SOHO:

    How to Vote:
    Click on the mission name (in this case SOHO) and a blue arrow will appear. Click on the blue arrow and SOHO will move ahead of STS-7. Do that for all the missions you would like to vote and then click SUBMIT VOTE (top center of the page, looks like a basket ball). There is also TRACE and STEREO to vote. You can vote as many times.

    http://mission-madness.nasa.gov/mm/bracket.html

  47. alexandriu doru (09:00:27) says: “The mean geothermal flux on earth is 60 mW/m^2; The mean solar flux on earth is 240W/m^2. Volcans (sic) DO NOT AND CAN NOT influence global warming.”

    I love your logic. Here’s more of it: the mean velocity of lead mineral deposits is 0.00 miles per hour. You CAN NOT AND WILL NOT ever get hurt by a bullet.

  48. http://www.seablogger.com/?p=13095

    *

    Tonga Temblor
    Thursday, 19 Mar 09, volcanoes

    “A tremendous earthquake has struck the island nation of Tonga. The preliminary measure is 7.9. This is enough to cause a considerable tsunami. The epicenter was located 210 km SSE of the capitol. Meanwhile, just 12 km from the capitol, a submarine volcano has been exploding for several days. You’ve probably seen some of the photos. The linked image shows two active vents, one just below the sea, and one just above it. The earthquake was a major tectonic event, not directly connected with the eruption, but it could certainly influence the behavior of Hunga-Tonga Hunga-Ha’apai. Don’t you love the sound of that name? Truly scary”.

    One of the first web sites I check every day is http://www.iris.edu/seismon/
    You can observe the Tonga region. The biggest red circle visible now is the Tonga earth quake, or should we say sea quake.

  49. There was a 7.9 MAG earthquake at

    23.015°S, 174.782°W — 210km SSE of NUKU’ALOFA, Tonga

    Today

  50. ak: Nice detective work, if true. Not sure you’re right, but it’s a better than average post in any case, since some thought and investigation went into it.

  51. Just for your information: Seismic activity Tonga region last 2 weeks`;

    Last 2 Weeks of Earthquakes
    (within 10 degrees of LON=-174.7818, LAT=-23.0152)
    DATE links are into the IRIS WILBER system where you can see seismograms and request datasets.
    DATE LAT LON MAG DEPTH REGION
    19-MAR-2009 18:17:37 -23.02 -174.78 7.9 10.0 TONGA ISLANDS REGION
    16-MAR-2009 15:25:20 -20.65 -175.77 5.0 81.1 TONGA ISLANDS
    15-MAR-2009 20:28:53 -15.49 -173.22 5.0 35.0 TONGA ISLANDS
    14-MAR-2009 03:04:12 -20.00 -175.43 4.8 156.5 TONGA ISLANDS
    13-MAR-2009 03:26:44 -21.19 -175.57 4.4 147.0 TONGA ISLANDS
    12-MAR-2009 23:04:12 -17.60 -174.27 4.6 108.5 TONGA ISLANDS
    09-MAR-2009 19:42:16 -21.90 -175.18 5.1 10.0 TONGA ISLANDS
    06-MAR-2009 20:19:05 -15.02 -173.12 4.9 11.0 TONGA ISLANDS
    06-MAR-2009 08:21:26 -15.19 -173.39 5.0 10.0 TONGA ISLANDS
    06-MAR-2009 07:24:04 -15.08 -173.45 4.8 10.0 TONGA ISLANDS
    s displayed.

  52. Steven: I’ve marked up your map to illustrate where Tonga is located.

    I continue to believe you’re pointing to weather noise on the SST anomaly map.

  53. Earthquakes too:
    Mag 7.9 Thursday, March 19, 2009 at 18:17:37 UTC
    Mag 5.2 Thursday, March 19, 2009 at 20:33:59 UTC

    See http://earthquake.usgs.gov/eqcenter/recenteqsww/Maps/10/185_-25.php

    http://edition.cnn.com/2009/WORLD/asiapcf/03/19/tonga.quake/ says in part:

    A tsunami warning was issued and then canceled Friday shortly after a major earthquake struck early Friday off the coast of Tonga.

    The earthquake “generated a small tsunami,” but there is “no evidence of destructive waves,” said Stewart Weinstein, assistant director of the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center in Hawaii.

    Ken Hudnut, a geophysicist at the U.S. Geological Survey in Pasadena, California, said: “The association with the volcanic activity seems to be an interesting added dimension to this. It’s not clear at this point that there is a direct association, but it seems suggestive at this point.”

  54. Smokey (09:22:41) :

    “The fact that the UN/IPCC doesn’t account for 200,000+ submarine volcanoes [and is apparently even unaware of their existence] casts major doubts on the IPCC’s conclusions and competence.

    What else should we expect from a politically appointed body?”

    Smokey,

    I don’t think we need the undersea volcano argument to disqualify IPCC climate reports.

    The last three WUWT postings finished them off already:
    # Arctic Ice Thickness Measured From Buoys
    # Steve McIntyre’s ICCC09 presentation with notes
    # Brokaw’s Global Warming Special – count the errors
    # Finally – an honest quantification of urban warming by a major climate scientist

    And Obama’s 2 trillion dollar climate plan to stop the warming of the cooling will do the rest.

  55. If I have a pot of water which is going heat it the most?

    1) a 2000W hair dryer from above
    2) a 2000W stove element from below.

  56. Others will probably have posted this, but just in case (from AP):

    NUKU’ALOFA, Tonga (AP) – The U.S. Geological Survey says that a 7.9 earthquake has struck near Tonga, prompting a tsunami warning for adjacent islands in the South Pacific.

    The USGS says that the quake struck about 130 miles (200 kilometers) south-southeast of the Tongan capital of Nuku’Alofa at a depth of 6.2 miles (10 kilometers). It struck Friday morning local time.

    There were no immediate reports of injuries or damage.The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center has issued a tsunami warning for neighboring islands, but it was not immediately known if a tsunami had been generated.

    It also advises that some coastal areas of Hawaii could see a rise in sea level and strong currents lasting up to several hours.

    http://earthquake.usgs.gov/eqcenter/recenteqsww/Quakes/us2009ejbr.php

  57. Speaking of the ocean atmosphere interface this seems to be how it works:

    “Changing temperatures induce air circulation changes as the air seeks to restore the sea surface/surface air temperature equilibrium and at the same time resolve ocean induced variations in the sun to sea / air to space equilibrium.

    The circulation changes alter all the processes involved in the rate of energy transfer from surface to space. In so far as the air circulation fails for a time to maintain temperature stability then radiation from surface to space will also change but in due course stabilty is always restored between the four said parameters (sea surface / surface air / sun to sea / air to space).

    Only huge catastrophic changes capable of altering the temperature of the whole body of the oceans can set a new global equilibrium in the short term (less than millennia). The sun can also do it gradually but it takes centuries e.g. from Roman Warm Period to Mediaeval Warm Period to Little Ice Age to now. The solar effect is heavily modulated over time by ocean cycles. A change in the composition of the air alone (like extra CO2 or increased water vapour) cannot do it.

    The role of water vapour combined with the latent heats of evaporation and condensation gives the circulation changes the major part of their ability to accelerate energy transfer from surface to space.

    So, the most common and by far the largest forcing at any given time is multi decadal variations in energy emissions from the oceans. In the background are slow century scale changes in solar output.

    Temperature changes induced by sun and oceans drive air circulation changes which drive changes in every aspect of climate including convection, conduction, evaporation, condensation, precipitation, windiness, cloudiness, albedo and humidity as regards both quantities and distribution.

    Water vapour in itself is not a driver nor does it have cycles or periodicities of it’s own. It’s a very useful contibutor to the whole process though and without it the Earth would be entirely different

  58. Whoah, sorry to disrupt the flow.

    Lots of posts appeared while I was responding to Smokey at 10:55:01

    Reply: Always a good idea to identify to whom you are responding in your post ~ charles the moderator

  59. janama (13:26:00) :

    If I have a pot of water which is going heat it the most?

    1) a 2000W hair dryer from above
    2) a 2000W stove element from below.

    If the one below is only a pinpoint and the one above envelopes the entire surface, I’d go with the one above.

  60. @jorgekafkazar, thanks. don’t take my word on it though! you can do it yourself (and i encourage everyone, especially the author) since you can find the lat/long of tonga easily, and the “hot spot” on the SST anamoly map by the grid.

    use this script to find the distance: http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/gccalc.shtml

    @Bob Tisdale, thanks for posting the image. glad i’m not the only one taking the pretty images at face value :)

  61. Given the numbers of volcanoes mentioned in the main post, how many are active and therefore pumping heat into the water? Is there ANY way we can quantify this? From the different sites that I’ve seen, the data says there are loads of volcanoes, but many, perhaps the vast majority are dormant or extinct. Look at the Hawaiian islands, the hotspot stays still as the crust moves, therefore there are islands that were volcanoes now slowly being subsumed by the sea.

    Heat may be being released from below the ocean, but before we start singing from the rooftops that here is another cause of warming, we need to quantify.

  62. “The epicenter was located 210 km SSE of the capitol. Meanwhile, just 12 km from the capitol, a submarine volcano has been exploding for several days.”

    200+KM is quite a distance. That is like a someone claming that a small eruption of Mt St Helens causes an earthquake in Seattle.

    Not impossible, but not a likely connection either.

  63. Amazing. This thread has as I write 82 posts, and only Alex Doru, Jeff L, Tom R and Peter Hearnden seem to have the elementary notion of calorimetry – how much heat does a volcano produce and how much water is there to heat. Instead we get silly things like Steve G’s remarks about 2000 degree volcanoes. Exaggerated (in C), but irrelevant. An oxyacetylene flame is at 3000C, but won’t heat the ocean.

    To continue Jeff L’s calc, here are Wright and Flynn with a space measure of 45 land eruptions from 2001-2, which put about 5.3×10^16 J/yr into the air. That’s about 2×10^15 J per eruption, on average. That SST hot spot look to cover about 10^6 sq km, and at about 5000 m depth, that is about 5×10^15 m^3 water. By my calc then, an average eruption would raise the temp 10^-6 C – one millionth of a degree. Maybe ten times that if the heat stratifies near the surface.

  64. According to “physics” it is impossible for an undersea volcano to communicate heat to the surface water. And yet steam is ushering forth, as can be plainly seen in the picture.

    What we have here is a failure to communicate the communication.

  65. “According to some of the best AGW minds, increases of 0.0001 atmospheric CO2 concentration may be more powerful at affecting localized micro-climates than are 2000 degree volcanoes.”

    Aren’t you forgetting “water vapor forcings” and “a teaspoon of arsenic will kill a man”, etc., etc.

  66. Adolfo Giurfa

    Your abstract reminds me of the premise of a book from 1974 about the effects of a 1982 alignment of the planets and their effect on earth as far as volcanism and stress on fault lines. I don’t recall much unusual happening that year, but the book called “The Jupiter Effect” is before global warming , and before the days of massive climate and weather data. It’s actually well written and reflects the knowledge of that era. It’s a good read if you can find a copy.

  67. Like Alex, my first thought was holy La Nina! Nice picture

    Volcanism is interesting for lubricating the plastic flow of ice in the Western Antarctic and in this case for the effervescence. Spectacular.

    I’m just glad they’re getting scrubbed. Don’t need any more direct emissions to the atmosphere to help that La Nina and now apparently cold AMO … and fading sun.

    As for that local heat anomaly, it may be plausible the soup from the volcano is boiling up to the east. That it would be that far goes with the stratification idea and then the upwelling could occur because of another local condition. You see this kind of thing in process facilities that deal with fluids at different temperatures and densities.

  68. Smokey,

    Atolls have a more storied history. The ring of coral is the left over parts of a mountain that grew up and out of the ocean. True enough, the volcano started as a young mountain below the water and over active time, built itself up to rise above the water line, then when it passes beyond the area of the opened crust that is feeding it with magma, it stops growing and begins to wear down from the top as well as the bottom. It sinks from below and wears away from above. We know this because of drilled cores in atolls. The core is hundreds of meters deep with coral. Old coral. The mountain sinks, along with the coral, which dies as it sinks below the water to the point that sunlight no longer reaches the coral. New coral forms on top of old in its effort to stay within the reach of sunlight. So atolls are VERY old volcanic mountains that are sinking and wearing away back into mother Earth. Hawaii will one day be nothing but an atoll ringed with coral.

  69. While the effects of gasses and particulates expelled during an eruption are known to be important, the impacts of thermal heat transfer from vulcanism on climate are not likely to be significant – at least not from a single volcano.

    Then again there are those LIPs (Large Igneous Provinces) that were active in the SW pacific near the end of the Cretaceous.

  70. Aron: You asked, “What is that anomaly to the east of Argentina?”

    In an upcoming post, I identified the global ocean areas that warmed the most over the period of 1880 to 2008. That area off the coast of Argentina happens to be one. I’ve created the illustrations for the post, but haven’t written it up yet. I’m hoping to have it done by Saturday. Here’s the Trend Map from GISS that I used to identify the anomalous warming locations.

    And here’s the graph of the SST anomalies of the area off the coast of Argentina. (Sorry about the color, but I color-coded the areas on another map and ran out of selections)

    Note the apparent climate shift there in the early 1960s.

  71. Mike D. (14:42:35) :

    According to “physics” it is impossible for an undersea volcano to communicate heat to the surface water. And yet steam is ushering forth, as can be plainly seen in the picture.

    What we have here is a failure to communicate the communication.

    No, a failure to understand the situation.

    From what I can gather at http://volcanism.wordpress.com/ there are two vents, one above ground (new island? I’m not sure) and one underwater, but not deep underwater. There’s a big difference between vents 2 miles down and 2 meters down!

    I’m sure there’s a big surface underwater and perhaps more vents or other heat releases, but all the photos are of near-surface activity.

    Oh – somewhat OT, but here’s a good particle on the Arctic Gakkel Vents Expedition (AGAVE) of July 2007

    http://www.whoi.edu/page.do?pid=7545&tid=282&cid=44586&ct=162

    The water in the Arctic Ocean is stratified – layered like a cake – with lighter layers lying atop denser layers of water, like oil atop water. (Colder and/or saltier seawater is denser than warmer and/or less salty seawater.) Waters in the Arctic depths remain trapped near the bottom. They do not mix much with surface waters. Almost no heat is transmitted all the way up to the underside of the ice.

    During many Arctic expeditions, scientists have studied the movement of water, heat, and chemicals in the depths of the Arctic Ocean . They have found that heat and other emissions from the Arctic seafloor do not rise much higher than 500 to 1000 meters up from the ocean bottom. The volcanoes under the Arctic sea ice are 3,000 to 4,000 meters (approximately 2.5 miles) below.

  72. Jeff Alberts (13:51:57) :

    You would not be popular in the kitchen with your hair dryer, if that’s how you think a chef should boil water or fry an egg. 2000 watts concentrated from below, is how a stove works. 2000 watts of hot air in an oven, would take far too long to cook an egg or boil water. But, I think you know that, don’t you. You’re just having a laugh!

  73. Walter Dnes (14:08:55) :

    Developing story… 7.7 (yes, SEVEN POINT SEVEN) earthquake off the coast of Tonga. See http://www.cnn.com/2009/WORLD/asiapcf/03/19/tonga.quake/index.html for details.

    We had a tsunami warning in NZ (just in case) after this earthquake. I just heard on the radio the the tsunami was about 2 cm high when it passed Tonga. Apparently the quake was very deep so panic over. I wonder how they calculated theh height.

    Do the gasses emitted by a volcano count towards your contries emissions for Kyoto? Tonga better hope not.

  74. Oops

    Apparenlty the quake was shallow ( about 10 km) so they expected more of a tsunami than they got..

  75. “However in that case there is the claim by oceanographic experts that it is impossible for the sea ice above to be affected due to stratifed water layers and thus making the released heat “unable to communicate” to the surface.”

    When I read statements like this in which the word “impossible” is used, it tells me that the scientists really don’t know because they have no theory able to explain how a thermal surge in the lower crust can occur in terms of plate tectonics or other geomythological theories.

  76. What is that anomaly to the east of Argentina?

    I don’t know, but it has been a persistent feature of the SST anomaly map for about the last 2 years that I have noticed.

    Generally, its less than1,000Ks across and centered at or near the mouth of the River Plate.

    Currently, its somewhat larger and centered further east.

    It might result from freshwater outflow from the River Plate (My guess). Although, I have no idea if there has been a large enough increase in freshwater outflows to account for this feature.

    BTW, the Pacific warm anomaly is too far east to result from the current volcanic eruptions.

  77. Smokey,

    From your source….

    Previously, satellite data had identified 14,164 volcanoes over 1500 m high.

    Hillier then extrapolated the data to estimate how many volcanoes exist beyond the areas the research vessels sounded out. He estimates there are about 39,000 volcanoes that are higher than 1000 m, leaving nearly 25,000 yet to be directly discovered.

    Hence, the ‘count’ is essentially an unknown. It is good that they made a distinction of physical height. Some are counting, in the millions, every little vent in the ocean floor as a volcano. Greater resolution in the definition of ‘volcano’ needs to be addressed.

    We both appear to have similar thought. Two thirds of the earth is covered with oceans. The oceans play a huge role in the climate. We understand very little about the oceans. Yet.. the IPCC, Gore, and Hansen pretend that they have a full understanding of the climate.

    Tim Clark,
    You are correct in regards to heat energy exchange. That would be the same regardless of the depth of a volcano.

  78. mareeS (09:55:25) wrote:

    “We sailed through the porphiry from the last eruption in 2006. It swept across the seas to the north islands of Fiji., But the eruption was nearer to tonga and there’s a new island forming.”

    I claim the new island for the nation of Tuvalu. They’ve been shopping for a new home, don’t you know.

  79. Nick Stokes,

    What’s amazing is the emphasis on eruptions and not taking into account the heat released from continuous venting.

    The Tonga-Kermadec Arc has been studied intensely over the last several years to map out the extent of the subsea geothermal system. Sea floor vents occur at depths of 500 m to 1000 m, other vents occur along the sides of cone volcanoes and caldera walls.

    The vents release gases about 200 to 265 C. If 100 tonnes per day of volcanic gas are vented, you’re looking at about 1×10^11 J per day of water heating. By the way, Mount St Helens was venting about 100 tons per day of SO2 in 1983, three years after it erupted.

    Assuming a 45 degree cone of influence, the sea surface area affected is PI * (depth/2)^2. Given the subsurface imagery of some of these vents and chimneys, that seems to me to be an extremely conservative estimate on the high side. See http://oceanexplorer.noaa.gov/explorations/07fire/logs/july31/media/brothers_blacksmoker.html

    The heat flux at the surface for a 100 tonne per day vent, 500m deep, and 250 deg C warmer than surrounding water will have surface heat flux of about 6 W / m^2

    Something tells me the water near the surface is going to warm a heck of a lot more than 1 / 10^6 C. The South Equatorial Gyre would carry this warmed surface water in the direction of the observed anomaly.

    Your assumptions and mileage may vary. Is this proof of SST anomaly being due to volcanic warming? Hardly, but it is a plausible mechanism.

  80. “Barry L. (08:39:08) :

    Underwater volcano’s could be the next hot topic.

    Underwater volcanos

    http://www.iceagenow.com/Ocean_Warming.htm

    From a report on Hydrothermal vents, a quote:
    Temperature and velocity measurements
    obtained within a few centimeters of focused vent orifices yield
    power outputs which range from less than 1 to nearly 100 MW,
    http://www.nwra.com/resumes/pruis/Pruisetal_deepsea_2004.pdf

    What is now Lake Taupo (Pronounced Toe-pour) in New Zealand was a volcano. It still is, but submerged. The lake level rises and falls now and then with activity beneath. The lake was formed when the vocano blew itself to bits, the explosion was several times bigger than Krakatoa (Sp?) and in certain areas you can see the exposed ash layer, which is about 400mm (Maybe more) thick I think. I have pictures of it too.

    Mt Tarawera errupted in in 1886 and buried, among other things, The Pink and White terraces. In fact you can get on a boat on one of the nearby lakes, sail almost right up to side of the volcano wall, and feel the heat, see and feel the steam and smell the sulphur eminating from the rock face.

    You can track a line through the active volcanic regions from Tonga, right down through White Island, Taupo, Mt Tongario and Mt Ruhapeu. You can see Mt Tongariro and Mt Ruhapeu from Taupo, quite impressive when you understand how that region was formed.

  81. Sam the Skeptic (14:03:40) : 5C with 41F
    Haven’t seen the print but assume you mean they meant “five Celsius degrees” and not “five degrees Celsius” so the conversion should have yielded 9 F degrees. This is the issue of a change in temperature (a range) properly written as “n C degrees” versus an actual temperature (a point) which is written “n degrees C”.

  82. None of that article makes much sense to me.

    Part of my daily trip to and from work is via an underground arcade, which has a very large and relatively modern building on top of it. Whenever it rains, there is an area which is fenced off due to a leak. In over ten years, the source of the leak has not been found and fixed. It’s a problem with water and buildings: if there is a way for the water to get through, it will find it, notwithstanding how convoluted the path may be.

    And yet the prevailing theory appears to be that heat etc from undersea or under-ice volcanoes just sort of sits there, percolating around the volcano site, not able to find a way through water or ice. Oh, and coincidently, the one area in the Antarctic which shows signs of warming is the one area experiencing volcanic activity, but the warming is caused pretty much by everything other than the volcanic activity.

    Please forgive the sarcasm, but the idea of “However in that case there is the claim by oceanographic experts that it is impossible for the sea ice above to be affected due to stratified water layers and thus making the released heat “unable to communicate” to the surface” is just so remarkably dumb I couldn’t let it pass.

  83. One of my favorite maps I have is a large (way bigger than I am) satellite image of the world without the water. I use a magnifying glass to explore the oceans bottoms. The volcanoes that are known, mountains, valleys, ridges, stretch marks, and cracks are all labeled. I haven’t yet explored the entire thing and I have had the map for about 6 years.

  84. The climatic significance of this eruption is not whether it heats enough sea water to make a difference to SSTs, it is because it has the potential for a Krakatoa sized (or bigger)eruption.

    The fact the volcanos peak is below sea level will make no difference* in the event a large plinian eruption occurs. It will have same cooling effect as a large land based volcanic eruption.

    * Some volcanologists think that underwater volcanos produce substantially larger eruptions because large quantities of sea water are flash evaporated by the heat of the magma, substantially increasing the amount of gas in the plinian column and hence its height and volume.

    And how much material and how high it is injected into the stratosphere is what matters for the climate.

    Basically, these volcanologists think underwater volcanic eruptions have bigger effects on climate than land based ones.

    And BTW, we have almost no data on large underwater volcanic eruptions.

  85. I, for one, find the sst anomaly in the vicinity of Tonga to be, at the very least, suggestive.

    Along the same lines, I find the anomalous warmth northeast of Svalgaard to be suggestive of underwater vulcanism. While I’m at it, I find the pool of warmth (at the center of the cold horseshoe of the negative PDO), centered roughly on the Hawaiian islands, to be suggestive of vulcanism as well.

    We can make calculations to our hearts’ content about whether eruptions warm the ocean. In so doing, we risk making ourselves into human GCMs, though, I fear.

    We simply don’t know, and we probably won’t for a while.

  86. This is one of the reason’s that I was asking about earths core temperature and such. It seems reasonable that a molten core, revolving inside a revolving planet, is going to exhibit hotter and cooler spots on the globe. I’ve kinda been wondering if this is where some of the ocean anomolies get started.

  87. Noted Antarctic expert Eric Steig tells us that Volcanoes under the ice can’t affect climate on the surface, 2 miles above! This is indeed true and interesting, because CO2 on the surface reportedly can affect the melting of the basal ice, two miles below.

    Talk about a poke in the eye with a stick.

    Nicely done.

  88. Jeff L (11:31:00) :
    what about the heat from the rock on the sea floor.
    the heat is not just the vent.

    Ric Werme (16:03:29) : Mike D. (14:42:35) :

    But where dose the heat go? it is not a small amount!

    Bob Tisdale (15:59:52) :

    There is a huge magnetic anomaly going on there as well, a hole in the earth magnetic field.

  89. Hell_is_like_newark (10:09:59) :

    Subduction.

    For everyone else, this idea that undersea volcaoes are effecting the oceans and thus climate, you can get that notion out of your head. First off, the volume of water is HUGE HUGE HUGE in the ocean. Volcanoes may have a VERY local effect on the surrounding water, but this is short lived and will have no effect on the grand scheme of things.

    Additionally, you can basically assume that volcanic activity is “constant” on the long term. Sure, you have local events here and there that gets media attention, but on geologic time scales, lets call it a constant rate of volcanism for the last 50 million or so years. Sure, there are times when volcanism is more active, but the rates are slow to change and happen on huge time scales to have an appreciable difference (e.g. high rates of sea floor spreading during the break up of Pangea, and more volcanism).

    One more thing, not all volcanoes are the same. The style of volcanoes you find (as well as the eruptive style) will be very different in places like Tonga or the cascades, compared to places like Iceland of Hawaii. The products, the heat flow, the amount of gasses, the topography of the volcanoes, etc are all very different. Running up the middle of all of our oceans are ridges where the oceanic plates are pulling apart. From north to south in the Atlantic there is “volcanism” and volcanoes but these volcanoes are VERY different then what we see in the pictures of this article.

    For all the folks that are claiming that the ice at the poles are melting because of volcanism, I implore you to look at a picture of some of the volcanoes in the cascades. Mt. Rainer for example. Here is an “active” volcano, that is covered in thick glaciers. There is appreciable heat flow here, but the glacier is doing just fine. Also, Mt. St Helens erupted on May 18th, 1980 that left one hell of a crater. You may recall not too long ago Mt. St. Helens started erupting again. At the same time during this active eruption, the glacier in the crater was continuing to grow.

    A dated story from Fox News of all places about the growing glaciers during the eruption.

    http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,135148,00.html

    Off topic but relevant is that American adults fail at science.

    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/03/090312115133.htm

    This in itself has ramifications for the climate change debate as well as public policy.

    Ben

  90. Pofarmer (17:31:57) :

    The heat from the core has to travel through ~2900 km of mantle to reach the crust of the earth. A solid mantle which convects at a VERY VERY slow rate.

    Ben

  91. From Adolfo Giurfa (10:00:17) :

    “SOLAR-PLANETARY-CLIMATE STRESS, EARTHQUAKES AND VOLCANISM”

    http://ntrs.nasa.gov/archive/nasa/casi.ntrs.nasa.gov/19900066907_1990066907.pdf

    We acknowledge valuable discussion with R. W. Decker, J. E. Hansen and J. E. Sanders. Work was supported by NASA.

    Our good friend James Hansen.

    There are many referances in the paper to the Sun and Climate.

    “A good correlation exists between the long-term smoothing of the sunspot cycle, and Greenland temperatures – with cool temperatures corresponding to long-term sunspot minima”.

    I found this paper facinating.

  92. Working from one of the “Possibly Related Posts”, I made one more link click and came up with this little jewel from CNN:

    “Polar bears resort to cannibalism as Arctic ice shrinks”, Marsha Walton, CNN

    http://www.cnn.com/2008/TECH/09/23/arctic.ice/index.html

    “The Arctic sea ice melt is a disaster for the polar bears,” according to Kassie Siegel, staff attorney for the Center for Biological Diversity. “They are dependent on the Arctic sea ice for all of their essential behaviors, and as the ice melts and global warming transforms the Arctic, polar bears are starving, drowning, even resorting to cannibalism because they don’t have access to their usual food sources.”…

    Later… “In one documented 2004 incident in northern Alaska, a male bear broke into a female’s den and killed her.”

    I can see the next headline: “Global Warming causes Domestic Violence among Polar Bears says top scientist”

    Any wonder we’re skeptical of environmental journalists? Sounds like Marsha has been drinking to much Kool-Aid.

  93. Not my students, not on my watch. My middle school kids, last year, in a self-contained class for students with behavior difficulties and other special education issues, passed the state benchmark in science. And not by a small margin. I hammered in the basics. And built in a questioning mind. I also surrounded them with large table books filled with all kinds of scientific, electrical, and mechanical information, including detailed books on the history of war planes and jets, complete with schematics. We downloaded reports on everything. They studied weather, the universe, the Earth, Saturn’s moon, the Sun, and the early beginnings of how humans discovered how to melt, mold, and mix metals. They could, if asked, explain to you how the earliest blast furnace ever found was made and how old it was. And, they could tell you what the climate is on the lee-ward side of a coast mountain range at such and such altitude, on the 45th parallel, as well as why that climate will pretty much stay the same, regardless of cold or warm swings in this or that mechanism, or who/what is pumping CO2 into the air.

    If there is one thing I love about kids with behavior problems, they are very smart cookies.

    And then the budget crunch came along and whacked the program out. So I am back to teaching “readin, writin, and rithmatic”.

  94. Take a look at 1815, the “Year without a summer” or “Eighteen hundred and froze to death”. Presumably caused by the eruption of Tambora in 1815. Oh well, that was only “weather”, I suppose.

    All this meaningless yammerng about “climate” when it is actual weather events that kill.

  95. A solid mantle which convects at a VERY VERY slow rate.

    Well, considering all it has is TIME. Then there’s those pesky volcanic vents.

    Hell, I Don’t even have a theory, I just figure there’s GOT to be something better than a trace gas that makes up .0003% of the Atmoshpere going to .0004%.

  96. Benjamin P,

    Convective heat flow through water occurs many orders of magnitude faster than diffusive heat flow through rock. If you don’t think that an erupting volcano can put out massive amounts of heat in a very short amount of time, then perhaps you are correct that the educational system has failed badly.

    Read up on Pompeii, and if you are going to discuss Mt. St Helens perhaps you should imagine yourself there on May 18, 1980, before you make nonsensical analogies. Do you remember how the Toutle River flooded? That was due to the entire Mt. St. Helens glacier melting almost instantaneously when the volcano erupted.

  97. Earle,
    No, these sea vent figures aren’t comparable. Your vent is producing about a megawatt. There are computers that generate more than that. And if the surface flux is 6 W/m2, that’s only over an area of about 1/6 of a sq km. That’s not going to show up as a SST hot spot.

  98. Benjamin P. (17:41:11) :
    this is why climate study is not right
    the earths core is hot but has no effect on climate

    my woman tells me we should suck up Canadian CO2 and redistribute it here in Michigan so we could then warm up! I like her thinking LMAO.

  99. @Adolfo: Is that an actual Earth shot behind the earthquake pins? Notice the bright ring around it.

    @ SandyInDerby: I believe you are correct about the SE tradewinds/westerlies cusp: http://www.bewilderingstories.com/issue221/gilboy5.1.html

    @ak: yes, thanks, I did check. Tonga is in one cell, the small hotspot is about 700 miles east by 500 miles south (roughly), and the quake is between them, but shifted west a bit. Certainly no evident connection as yet, but still very interesting. Also note that the Tonga Trench goes the opposite direction, SW to NE. But if I were in the vicinity, whether it’s 6 miles from the volcano or 130 miles from the epicenter, I think I’d still haul buns out of there, regardless.

    @various figure fudgers: released volcanic heat would rise by convection very rapidly, especially as the pressure fells below the critical point. The entire column of water (n km by n km) wouldn’t be heated, just the portion almost straight above the vent all the way to the surface, maybe as small as 100 meters in diameter. You are all-too obviously picking oversized volumes that will give the result you want at the surface.

  100. Consider that water from the Juan de Fuca hydrothermal vents is about 700 degrees. Undersea volcanoes are estimated to pump as much energy into the oceans every hour as all humans on the planet consume in a day.

    I think it would be silly to think that undersea hydrothermal systems have no impact on sea temperature. You cant keep pumping that much energy into the system day after day without it having an impact.

  101. Shall I bring up the gaseous component of the gnat’s colon again? The ocean is mega HUGE and the volcanoes and vents are so small that most of them are not labeled, not even the known ones, on my ocean floor world map. They are too small to be printed onto this huge map I have. Pofarmer, go outside and stand in the wind. Any wind will do. That’s a big driver. Hell, the jet stream is a big one too. It’s so strong that a trip from Oregon to Chicago on a jet actually sets you one hour ahead of when you started. But coming back takes oh, about two days and a lot of heart thrubbing bumping as the plane fights the jet stream instead of riding it. Or take a trip to the pacific coast in Oregon. Do two things. Thing one. Feel the onshore flow of wind. Do this in the winter time so you get the double whammy of cold ocean spray and sand being blown into your every pore and orifice. Thing two, dip your toe in the water there. Then try to go to the bathroom right after. This is why many public bathrooms on the coast are heated, especially the men’s, and why the hand dryers come in two heights. This is the stuff that ends up ruining Al Gore’s photo ops in the East.

  102. crosspatch says:

    I think it would be silly to think that undersea hydrothermal systems have no impact on sea temperature. You cant keep pumping that much energy into the system day after day without it having an impact.

    But this has likely been happening for some time. Unless you can find a mechanism that provides for an increase of energy to the oceans over recent times or a decrease, it would seem that we cannot use undersea hydrothermal systems as a causative explanation for climate cycles.

  103. The average heat flow from the mantle is by definition fairly constant, but we are talking about volcanoes here. An explosive volcano may only erupt once every few thousand years, but when it does it releases a huge amount of energy which can (and often does) affect the climate of the entire world.

  104. LarryOldtimer (18:25:36) :

    Take a look at 1815, the “Year without a summer” or “Eighteen hundred and froze to death”. Presumably caused by the eruption of Tambora in 1815. Oh well, that was only “weather”, I suppose.

    The eruption was in April 1815, the Year without a Summer was in 1816, see my http://wermenh.com/1816.html for a New Hampshire perspective.

  105. @Pofarmer (18:44:03) :

    It is something, but its negligible in the “climate change” discussion. The sun has a much greater impact. Its a good thing that mantle convects though, because we’d likely not have life here on earth…at least as we know it.

    @ Steven Goddard (18:48:08) :

    Steven, I understand that water and the rock are very different materials. What I am saying is that an eruption here and there is not going to change the oceans temperature on the whole of the ocean. Sure, within a few km, maybe, you’d get some warming, but that’s it. Essentially you can think of the input of heat from volcanism as constant, and mostly negligible with respect to climate. Yes volcanoes are hot hot hot, but its not going to change the average ocean temperature.

    Also, the eruption of 1980 was MUCH different then the last eruptive phase of Mt. St. Helens. The latest phase was a dome building event, and the glacier that begin to form shortly after that 1980 eruption, was continuing to grow even while new rock was being emplaced within meters of the ice. I was right there to watch it. It wasn’t an analogy either…it was an example of areas with “high heat flow” with happy glaciation occurring side by side. I have seen more than once folks trying to attribute western Antarctic warming to volcanism.

    @janama (18:53:41) :

    Sorry Janama, you are interpreting the figure wrong. They are referring to the contour interval on the map with respect to the 10 and 45km numbers. The earths crust is thinnest in the oceans near the ridge access (less than a km) and thickest in the Himalaya (~80km). Also, scaling is a bad thing to do. While the ratio of the egg’s shell and the earth’s crust may be the same, they do not exhibit the same properties. Absolute values are much more meaningful. Also, below the Earth’s crust is solid rock. You do not find a liquid ‘swirling’ layer until you go down ~2900km to the core/mantle boundary.

    Ben

  106. janama (18:53:41) : METAPHOR ALERT! “…swirling currents of magma”

    This phrase conveys the wrong impression. This is a very slow process. It is not at all like the swirling in a river or even currents in an ocean.

  107. @Steven Goddard (20:00:56)

    Sure, the big ones do mess with climate with the particulate matter they add to the atmosphere. They do not, however, warm the earth because of heat flow.

    I think we are on the same page now?

  108. I’ve seen documentaries where divers off the coast of Hawaii were swimming in the water where the overland lava was poring into the ocean. They said the water was hot, almost unbearable and that the temperature rose rapidly as you got closer to the lava.

    Even with a description like that, its clear that the divers were very close to the lava, and were not cooking to death from the heat. The waters around Hawaii are cold to begin with so this would obviously help. I’m inclined to believe a single volcano event will have little to no effect on the water temperature.

  109. “it would seem that we cannot use undersea hydrothermal systems as a causative explanation for climate cycles.”

    Ahh, ok, I never meant to imply that it was a cause for global climate cycles. I meant to say that with about 2/3 of the world’s volcanic activity under the sea (in fact, the largest volcanic structure on the planet is completely under the ocean … the mid-oceanic ridge), we really have no idea what is going on and when. Only when we see something break the surface or happen to stumble across a vent in action do we even know it is happening.

    We just don’t know, really, how much is happening. A single vent off the coast of Oregon is (according to something I saw on NatGeo) acidic enough to eat through aluminum. They can’t even sample the water. It is 700 degrees and about like battery acid. They have nothing with which to sample it that can stand up to the conditions.

    But there was another article recently on the Eruptions blog about a recent trip to a undersea volcano off the coast of New Zealand that had apparently erupted a considerable amount of material since 2007 and nobody was even aware of it.

    We really have no idea how significant it is or not. But in any case, you go dumping 700 degree water into the deep ocean 24x7x356 and I might expect that to have more impact on ocean temperature than a 1 degree change in surface air temperature. In fact, I believe ocean temperature is more likely to influence air temperature than the opposite.

    We just have absolutely no idea how much is being pumped into the ocean. We don’t know if it was double one year what it was another year or only half today what it was a decade ago. No clue.

    More people have been to the moon than have been to the Marianas Trench, for example.

  110. It should be possible to work it out. If we know lava or pyroplastic flow is X-hundred degrees celcius, and we know it`s size, and we know the average surrounding air/water is X-degrees normally, it should be possible to approximitely calculate how much the surrounding areas will warm, and to what distance. Thermodynamics is a pretty understood science.

  111. Crosspatch wrote: “I think it would be silly to think that undersea hydrothermal systems have no impact on sea temperature. You cant keep pumping that much energy into the system day after day without it having an impact.”

    Then Richard Sharpe wrote: “Unless you can find a mechanism that provides for an increase of energy to the oceans over recent times or a decrease, it would seem that we cannot use undersea hydrothermal systems as a causative explanation for climate cycles.”

    Isn’t an anectodal one staring us in the face? Or is that SST anomaly in the vicinity of the eruption only (and I emphasize only) from other causes??

    No one is saying it is a “significant” impact to affect climate change (except in perhaps extreme events)…but that it does have (however minute even if locally) an effect.

    Don’t throw the baby out with the localized-vocanically-induced-bathwater-temp bathwater!

    Chris
    Norfolk, VA

  112. Steven Goddard (18:48:08) :

    Benjamin P,

    Convective heat flow through water occurs many orders of magnitude faster than diffusive heat flow through rock. If you don’t think that an erupting volcano can put out massive amounts of heat in a very short amount of time, then perhaps you are correct that the educational system has failed badly.

    Read up on Pompeii, and if you are going to discuss Mt. St Helens perhaps you should imagine yourself there on May 18, 1980, before you make nonsensical analogies. Do you remember how the Toutle River flooded? That was due to the entire Mt. St. Helens glacier melting almost instantaneously when the volcano erupted.

    Yeah, but while that melt & flood was a very energetic event, it was also very brief. By the time winter rolled around, I believe the crater glacier was already forming. During the 2004-2008 eruption, it got pushed around, and probably melted some, but overall kept growing.

    But yeah, an active eruption has more in common with convective heat transport than diffusive.

  113. Results of volcanic eruption of Tuwae near Tonga,

    Early in 1454, “it snowed for 40 days south of the Yangtze River and countless died of cold and famine.” Lakes and rivers were frozen, and the Yellow Sea was icebound out to 20 km from shore.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kuwae

  114. SandyInDerby (11:47:20) :
    This is in the southern hemisphere just north of the Tropic of Capricorn. The general pattern of winds would change throughout the year from Southeast Trades, to calm under high pressure, to Westerlies depending on how far the intertropical convergence zone shifts in this area. That’s the theory, anyway. So now the article says the winds are blowing away from the island and the activity is 10k off the SW coast. At this time of year the ITCZ ought to be north so these would be Westerlies. Winds at 5:00 PM LST in Nuku’alofa, Tonga were SW 9 mph. Seems the direction might have changed since the initial report. I’ve no personal experience or historical reference, so it would be nice to have a first hand report.

  115. ” GK (20:43:29) :

    It should be possible to work it out.”

    But the problem is that we have no idea what the volume of this stuff is. We have no idea how many of these are erupting at any given moment. If we can’t inventory them, we can’t calculate the volume of water or know the temperatures of them. The mid-oceanic ridge goes all the way around the planet, down the Atlantic and up the Pacific. There are literally thousands of these hydrothermal vents. And they change. Sometimes one will go inactive, another will spring up, get a moderate earthquake and the entire field changes … we have a much clearer picture of what is happening with the surface of Mars on any given day than we have of what is happening the surface of 70% of the Earth.

    Heck, for all we know this year could see the dumping 10x more heat into the ocean than last year, we have absolutely no idea. We can’t calculate a thing and anyone who claims to know is probably suffering from a case of cranial rectosis.

  116. That should have been Kuwae.

    The current eruption is next to Hunga Tonga Island, although Google Earth resolution isn’t good enough to see the island.

    Satellite image of the island.

  117. OT but RC in the “Other Opinions” columm has no link to WUWT or CA (both winners of best science blog), whereas both WUWT and CA have links to RC…. a real giveaway

  118. From the above image it looks like the centre of maximum heat is located around 35 degrees south. Tonga is closer to 20 degrees south, and in this vicinity it looks like a cool anomy persists.

    It would be difficult to draw a conclusion here !!

  119. Benjamin P. (17:41:11) :

    Without claiming that for sure that the ice at the poles are melting because of volcanism

    For all the folks that are claiming that the ice at the poles are melting because of volcanism, I implore you to look at a picture of some of the volcanoes in the cascades. Mt. Rainer for example. Here is an “active” volcano, that is covered in thick glaciers. There is appreciable heat flow here, but the glacier is doing just fine. Also, Mt. St Helens erupted on May 18th, 1980 that left one hell of a crater. You may recall not too long ago Mt. St. Helens started erupting again. At the same time during this active eruption, the glacier in the crater was continuing to grow.

    your arguments are irrelevant.

    The claim of melt was that heating from below helps the ice slide faster towards the sea. The ice always slides to the sea ( gravity, think water)unless it is in a basin. This is a physically viable hypothesis, and cannot be refuted by glaciers in basins on land.

    In addition, intense heat sources concentrated in one place will create conditions for currents and convection that would not be there if these intense heat sources were not present. The only true attitude towards volcanism in the oceans and the world climate is to acknowledge that “we do not know”, it has to be studied.

  120. I’ve just been looking at the pictures on the link Ron de Hann posted. Tnx

    Does anyone remember Surtsey? What effects did that have?

  121. Benjamin P. (17:52:21) :

    Pofarmer (17:31:57) :

    The heat from the core has to travel through ~2900 km of mantle to reach the crust of the earth. A solid mantle which convects at a VERY VERY slow rate.

    Ben

    A solid conducts? So it is not convection but conduction. Still it is true that heat transfer will be slow except in places where magma rises (illustration above).

    It would be interesting to see a calculation of this conduction rate ( if it were mostly iron for example it could be fast) as 4 km down the ground temperatures are in the 50C range ( south africa mines). Ocean bottoms are at that level, and it would be interesting to see how much heat is taken away by the convection currents at the interface.

  122. @anna v (23:33:10) :

    No, the solid mantle convects. Plastic flow. It happens in the crust too and will form some pretty sexy rocks called mylonites where there is very intense plastic flow. There is conduction too, but the main mechanism, well the most effective mechanism is for mass/energy transfers in the earth’s interior is convection.

    And ocean bottoms are not 4 miles down in crust…in essence they are the surface of the crust.

    The geothermal gradient, or the rate at which temperature increase with depth, is (on average) ~25C/km. The thermal conductivity is pretty low for rocks.

    Also, with respect to glaciers in Antarctica, I’ve seen it postulated on this site that the reason west Antarctica was warming was due to the volcanism, I was merely giving an example that demonstrates it’s a bunk claim.

    Ben

  123. What needs to be brought into the picture here is you folks are talking about a highly active volcanic area ( http://pubs.usgs.gov/gip/dynamic/fire.html ). Its not like it has been quiet for a long time and just kicked up activity. The area is known for volcanic activity and has quite a few large earthquakes and events yearly. If there is contribution to the local ocean temp I believe it is a fairly consistant thing in the area and not a first time event for this particular volcano…

    http://www.volcano.si.edu/world/volcano.cfm?vnum=0403-04=

    I think that you would also find that most of the energy transfer will be directly to the local atmosphere, though it might be possible for ocean certain ocean currents to ‘run warmer’ for a short period of time until the heat was dispursed, but that may already be a factor in the shallow warm current in that area.

    http://scrippsnews.ucsd.edu/Releases/?releaseID=902

  124. Tim L: You wrote, “There is a huge magnetic anomaly going on there as well, a hole in the earth magnetic field.”

    Are you telling me that the magnetic anomaly is causing the anomalous SST warming over the 20th century? If so, cite your resource please.

  125. Slightly OT (but not too far)

    Has anyone done work on deep ocean volcanoes? In what ways do they differ from their atmospheric counterparts?

    Even to the casual observer the immense pressures and lack of freely available Oxygen 4 miles down must make them behave quite differently.

    Anyone point me to a paper or two?

  126. Pamela Gray (18:23:35) wrote: ” Not my students, not on my watch…”

    My first brush with your writings was about bats, Pamela; and I have read every comment by you I have found since with dedication and delight (including getting warm on a cold night…). The post the above quote was taken from just confirms that you are some lady. They were lucky kids… and I suspect those you teach now are also. And we are lucky, too, being able to share your insights and puzzlements here.

  127. “pkatt (00:08:00) :

    What needs to be brought into the picture here is you folks are talking about a highly active volcanic area ”

    Problem is most of the people who live in these areas just do not know where they live. Naples (Pompei anyone) and Istanbul are two cities with 99.999% of the population totally unaware of the geology beneath their feet!

  128. Goreacle’s footprint chucks Darwin with computer models.
    …-

    “Scientists predict frigid cold has killed most mountain pine beetles in Alberta
    By John Cotter, THE CANADIAN PRESS
    EDMONTON – Frigid temperatures this winter have killed off more than 90 per cent of the mountain pine beetles in Alberta forests, new scientific data suggests.

    But experts won’t know until this spring if the death rate is high enough to actually stop the destructive bugs from continuing to spread to new healthy trees.

    Computer models run by the Canadian Forest Service on Thursday indicate that 95 per cent of the beetles have died in southern Alberta and the mountain parks because of the harsh winter. About 90 per cent have died in northern Alberta.”
    urlm.in/bxyq

  129. Benjamin P. (17:41:11) :

    Without claiming that for sure that the ice at the poles are melting because of volcanism

    For all the folks that are claiming that the ice at the poles are melting because of volcanism, I implore you to look at a picture of some of the volcanoes in the cascades. Mt. Rainer for example. Here is an “active” volcano, that is covered in thick glaciers. There is appreciable heat flow here, but the glacier is doing just fine. Also, Mt. St Helens erupted on May 18th, 1980 that left one hell of a crater. You may recall not too long ago Mt. St. Helens started erupting again. At the same time during this active eruption, the glacier in the crater was continuing to grow.

    your arguments are irrelevant.

    So, your argument is that volcanic heat released under water or ice has the same affect as volcanic heat released horizontally or even above ice. I don’t see ice on top of the “plume”. Heat rises, matter above warms.

  130. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crust_(geology)

    The crust of the Earth is composed of a great variety of igneous, metamorphic, and sedimentary rocks. The crust is underlain by the mantle.

    What is solid is the crust. Rocks. It conducts. It is the level on which oceans and continents lie.

    It seems that the mantle:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mantle_(geology)

    Due to the temperature difference between the Earth’s surface and outer core, and the ability of the crystalline rocks at high pressure and temperature to undergo slow, creeping, viscous-like deformation over millions of years, there is a convective material circulation in the mantle[3]

    does convect.

    But our interest is on the crust where the interactions with the oceans lie, and there it is conduction that will transfer heat unless there is a direct lava flow.

  131. Never mind about global warming–too many theories and not enough evidence. What about tsunamies? That, to me, is a possibility that can affect us now.

    Valentine deFrancis

  132. Rex Alan:

    Evidently J. Hansen was among the “Al.” after Fairbridge et Al.
    SOLAR-PLANETARY-CLIMATE STRESS, EARTHQUAKES AND
    VOLCANISM
    R.W.Fairbridge
    Excerpt:
    “On a long-term basis, it seems likely that solar activity
    Might trigger volcanism-through solar-induced climatic changes
    Which could lead to variations in planetary spin rate and hence
    to increased crustal stress and seismic and volcanic potential.
    Furthermore, the changes in solar activity and in the earth’s
    crustal stress may both be independent results of common
    planetary tidal parameters. The same planetary configurations
    that appear to modulate solar activity might lead to variations
    In the earth’s axial tilt, wobble, and/or spin rate
    which have climatic correlations. These variations would in turn
    lead to enhanced crustal stress. Therefore the planetary
    Influence on crustal stress in the earth may come both from
    Solar induced meteorological effects on spin rate and axial
    tilt and through direct planetary tidal effects on the
    earth’s rotation and tilt.”

    We acknowledge valuable discussion with R.W.Decker,
    J.E.Hansen and J.E.Sanders. Work was supported by NASA

  133. Leif Svalgaard (12:24:31) :

    How to Vote:
    Click on the mission name (in this case SOHO) and a blue arrow will appear. Click on the blue arrow and SOHO will move ahead of STS-7. Do that for all the missions you would like to vote and then click SUBMIT VOTE (top center of the page, looks like a basket ball). There is also TRACE and STEREO to vote. You can vote as many times.

    http://mission-madness.nasa.gov/mm/bracket.html

    I have better things to do than play stupid games.

  134. “EDMONTON – Frigid temperatures this winter have killed off more than 90 per cent of the mountain pine beetles in Alberta forests, new scientific data suggests.”

    Things like pine beetles are probably why you see a change from pines to oaks when climate changes. I seen it see it expressed as a “change from cold loving pines to oaks as climate warmed” when discussing things like pollen from lake sediment samples over thousands of years. Maybe the reason for the change isn’t so much the pine’s “love” of cold as it is the beetle’s lack of tolerance for it that causes the pine’s demise and replacement by hardwoods when the climate warms.

    Anyhow, if it turned out that infestations of the trees by these beetles happens in natural cycles that track natural climate variation, I wouldn’t exactly be “gobsmacked”.

  135. Nick Stokes (18:49:48) :

    Earle,
    No, these sea vent figures aren’t comparable. Your vent is producing about a megawatt. There are computers that generate more than that. And if the surface flux is 6 W/m2, that’s only over an area of about 1/6 of a sq km. That’s not going to show up as a SST hot spot.

    That’s quite a computer, it would dim the lights in our street.

    A domestic dwelling in temperate climates only consumes about 20000 kW Hours per year.

  136. Looks like a good place for a power plant to generate “clean” electricity. Not only can we harness the steam, but we can place giant windmills nearby to catch the thermal outgassing. Think of the people lining up for all those green jobs, if they can stand the heat….

  137. Nick Stokes,

    Thanks for your response. I took another look at my back of the envelope calculation and realized I was using a radius 1/2 too short. The radius of the surface circle is equal to the depth.

    So that 100 tpd, 250 C vent is releasing roughly 1 MW of heat energy with a surface flux of 1.5 W/m2

    Check out tis NOAA page for some info on the scale of the hydrothermal systems along the Tonga-Kermadec Arc: http://oceanexplorer.noaa.gov/explorations/05fire/background/plumes/plumes.html

    and this paper:

    http://www.segweb.org/EG/SkinnerAwardPapers/05-1097.pdf

    I postulate that the subsea volcanism along the arc may be releasing sufficient heat to influence the surface SST observations. You may be able to dismiss the notion without considering the scale of the detected active volcanoes, vents, and hot springs. I’m not so glib in ruling it out as a possile influence.

    I could also hypothesize a positive contribution from the increased biota in the near surface waters, as well as increased light absorption nearer the surface from the minerals entrained in the plumes.

    What I would dismiss, glibly, is using an analysis comparing the kinetic energy of a single eruption with the thermal energy of a continuous hydrothermal system.

  138. I should rephrase my last paragraph:

    What I would dismiss, glibly, is using an analysis estimating the kinetic energy of a single eruption rather than the thermal energy of a continuous hydrothermal system.

  139. “crosspatch (09:20:23) :

    “EDMONTON – Frigid temperatures this winter have killed off more than 90 per cent of the mountain pine beetles in Alberta forests, new scientific data suggests.””

    Here in Sydney, this summer (Or last rather, it’s Autum now) there was a noticeable lack of flies. Typically a hot summer brings lots of flies, this summer was much cooler which killed off flies…no “Aussie wave” this year.

  140. It makes sense that undersea vulcanism should heat the surrounding water.

    HOWEVER, the warmer-than-normal SSTs which extend from the central North Pacific southwestwards towards Indonesia and back southeastwards into the central South Pacific (over Tonga) are the pattern you would normally expect during a La Nina (the colder-than-normal SSTs in the eastern equatorial Pacific West of Colombia).

    That normal pattern could be amplified in the vicinity of Tonga. I guess the proper way to analyse this would be to take the mean SST response during all March La Ninas (could probably use the NCEP NCAR Reanalysis data for this) and determine of the anomaly near Tonga significantly exceeds the normal La Nina variance.

    BTW the warm anomaly East of Argentina could be related to the drought they have had in Argentina during southern Hemisphere summer http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2009/mar/08/argentina-drought-ranchers
    – that has fed back into a hot summer there and I suspect that heat has warmed SSTs downstream (that area would be in the southern hemisphere westerlies.

    Note that (before you AGW Alarmists spring into action) a La Nina NORMALLY produces dry conditions in Argentina http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601086&sid=aj1nH.0owWcY

  141. sorry to post so late, so often there’s just so much to take in!

    Just for fun I assembled an animated gif of SST anomalies taken at weekly intervals in June 2008, and one thing I noticed was the appearance of hot “blips” against a background of steadier change. This strongly suggested undersea vulcanism. For one, the hot blips are not quite equalled by cold blips. For two, many are mid-ocean in known volcanic areas. For three, look at the “flame” off the west coast of S America. However, of course, that is just the first sight of anomaly that could inspire a more thorough study… eg also explaining both hot and cold areas adjacent to NH land in terms of land’s capacity for far greater temp fluctuations.

    There has to be a sort of dynamic equilibrium here, with the interior heat of the planet accounting for some of our life-sustaining mild temperature on the surface.

  142. I wish you would resize your images instead of squeezing huge images into small spaces.

  143. Lucy Skywalker (00:17:03) :
    Quite interesting your observation. I have noticed that before on NOAA el Nino maps, not only big hot spots but sometimes very small ones surrounded with cold waters. If you revise all that data against not only volcanoes but earthquakes in near areas you will be surprised.

  144. Tim L (17:36:39) :

    “Jeff L (11:31:00) :
    what about the heat from the rock on the sea floor.
    the heat is not just the vent.

    Ric Werme (16:03:29) : Mike D. (14:42:35) :

    But where dose the heat go? it is not a small amount!

    Bob Tisdale (15:59:52) :

    There is a huge magnetic anomaly going on there as well, a hole in the earth magnetic field”.

    Scientist from the University of Würzburg in Germany have developed a new type of direct volcano ejecta detection by measuring short term electric static changes that occur during an eruption.

    For this purpose they place a grid antenna on a pole at a few hundred meters from the volcano. This way they are able to accurately measure the severity of an eruption, even if the volcano is not visible due to clouds or night conditions.

    http://adsabs.harvard.edu/abs/2006AGUFM.V51A1664B

  145. Lucy Skywalker, there are no volcanoes off the east coast of S America…Nor for that matter (if you look at your animation) in the North Sea!

  146. Peter Hearndern “Lucy Skywalker, there are no volcanoes off the east coast of S America”.
    Those hot spots in Lucy´s animation are Volcanic Galapagos Islands.

  147. Peter Hearndern . You are right. Those west of SA , at the equator are the Galapagos islands, but around the hot spot off the east of Argentina coast there are no volcanoes.

  148. Adolfo Giurfa (08:24:06) :

    Ron de Haan:

    “Those short term electric static charges referred by the University of Würzburg is the same phenomena as “earthquake lights”, I observed twice, as big light flashes, in Lima city sky, a few minutes after the 7.9 Richter earthquake at Pisco, Peru (290 km.south of Lima).
    Video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eNy6YQB8nnw

    Adolfo,

    This very well could be but the Germans have calibrated he system and they get a very accurate read out of emission volumes.

  149. On sky News, they Authorities reported that no fish was affected and no humans affected in the Tonga eruption, is this true?

    Am very concerned about the minerals exposed on to the formed foothills of the volcano(s), scientists my have the best time to quest on the minerals yet a n earthquake may surprise the tonga Islands unnoticeably as the scientists fetch diamonds. where do these scientists come from any way?
    Berni. Tour guide in Uganda- East Africa http://www.sunlinktravel.com

  150. The energy released from Mt St. Helens in a few minutes on May 18, 1980 was 24 megatons, which is enough to warm about twenty four billion cubic meters of water by one degree centigrade. That would cover an area 50km wide by 500km long, similar in size to most of the Antarctic Peninsula

    It also melted the massive Mt. St. Helens glacier in a matter of a few seconds. Volcanoes do not emit heat consistently. They can sit dormant for thousands of years and then release heat in explosive bursts, as is being seen in Tonga now.

  151. @ Steven Goddard (18:33:17) :

    So Steven, you believe that the volcanoes in west Antarctica are responsible for the warming observed there? Is the evidence simply because volcanoes are there, and there is warming? Just curious what all you are going on.

    And yes, that was a lot of energy released by Mt. St. Helens when it erupted, but it was not all thermal energy, nor would all of the energy released be capable of adding heat energy into the surrounding environment. Not all energy is thermal energy, but you knew that; even though your comment implies otherwise.

  152. “alexandriu doru (09:00:27) :

    The mean geothermal flux on earth is 60 mW/m^2;
    The mean solar flux on earth is 240W/m^2.
    Volcans DO NOT AND CAN NOT influence global warming”

    But in reality volcanoes DO AND CAN cause global warming. 65 million years ago when that big space rock smashed into Earth and obliterated 90% of Earth’s lifeforms there was an intense area of volcanism in the Siberian region which rose the Eath’s global average termperature briefly by about 3 degrees Celsius until the ash and gas created from the meteor impact and the volcanism blocked out sufficient amounts of sunlight to cool the Earth through a feedback effect.

    More recently, the Pinatubo eruption on the Philippines in 1991 triggered a .5 degrees Celsius cooling of the whole globe for that year. And that eruption had a VEI of 6, 10 times for stuff was thrown out campaired to Mt. St. Helens eruption at 1980 which was a VEI 5 eruption.

    If we multiply that over 100 km^2, which is roughly the size of the area of intense volcanism in Siberia 65 mya, then you can have a dramatic cooling of the Earth and lots of volcanic ash and noxious gases thrown into the atmosphere which circulated around the world – more than enough to compound the effects of the meteor impact and nearly sterilize the Earth.

  153. Note: The area of volcanism in Siberia 65 mya was caused by the impact because its the antipital point of the impact. In other words, this is where the shockwaves of the impact met after they travel around the globe after they began their journey from the point of impact of the meteor.

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