Previously Unknown Volcanic Eruption Helped Trigger Cold Decade

From the University of California, San Diego Press Release

Photo of Mt. Pinatubo

The previously unknown eruption in 1809 was larger than the Mt. Pinatubo eruption. Credit: USGS

A team of chemists from the U.S. and France has found compelling evidence of a previously undocumented large volcanic eruption that occurred exactly 200 years ago, in 1809.

The discovery, published online this week in the scientific journal Geophysical Research Letters, offers an explanation as to why the decade from 1810 to 1819 is regarded by scientists as the coldest on record for the past 500 years.

“We’ve never seen any evidence of this eruption in Greenland that corresponds to a simultaneous explosion recorded in Antarctica before in the glacial record,” said Mark Thiemens, Dean of the Division of Physical Sciences at UC San Diego and one of the co-authors of the study. “But if you look at the size of the signal we found in the ice cores, it had to be huge. It was bigger than the 1991 eruption of Mount Pinatubo in the Philippines, which killed hundreds of people and affected climate around the world.”

Photo of Jihong Cole-Dai
Jihong Cole-Dai of South Dakota State U. headed the research team. Credit: South Dakota State U.

Led by a chemist from South Dakota State University, the team of scientists made its discovery after analyzing chemicals in ice samples from Antarctica and Greenland in the Arctic, where the scientists visited and drilled ice cores three years ago. The year-by-year accumulation of snow in the polar ice sheets records what is going on in the atmosphere.

“We found large amount of volcanic sulfuric acid in the snow layers of 1809 and 1810 in both Greenland and Antarctica,” said professor Jihong Cole-Dai of SDSU’s Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, who was the lead author of the paper.

Joël Savarino of the Laboratoire de Glaciologie et Géophysique de l’Environment in Grenoble, France, and a former postdoctoral fellow at UC San Diego, was also part of the team.

Cole-Dai said climate records show that not only were 1816 — the so-called “year without a summer”— and the following years very cold, the entire decade from 1810 to 1819 was probably the coldest for at least the past 500 years.

Photo of
The team drilled ice cores in Greenland’s ice sheet. Credit: Mark Thiemens, UCSD

Scientists have long been aware that the massive and violent eruption in 1815 of an Indonesian volcano called Tambora, which killed more than 88,000 people in Indonesia, had caused the worldwide cold weather in 1816 and after. Volcanic eruptions have a cooling effect on the planet because they release sulfur gases into the atmosphere that form sulfuric acid aerosols that block sunlight. But the cold temperatures in the early part of the decade, before that eruption, suggest Tambora alone could not have caused the climatic changes of the decade.

“Our new evidence is that the volcanic sulfuric acid came down at the opposite poles at precisely the same time, and this means that the sulfate is from a single  large eruption of a volcano in 1809,” Cole-Dai said. “The Tambora eruption and the undocumented 1809 eruption are together responsible for the unusually cold decade.”

Cole-Dai said the Tambora eruption was immense, sending about 100 million tons of sulfur gas into the atmosphere, but the ice core samples suggests the 1809 eruption was also very large — perhaps half the size of Tambora — and would also have cooled the earth for a few years. The researchers reason that, because the sulfuric acid is found in the ice from both polar regions, the eruption probably occurred in the tropics, as Tambora did, where wind patterns could carry volcanic material to the entire world, including both poles.

Photo of
UCSD’s Mark Thiemens (upper left) pulls a cylinder in Greenland containing an ice core. Credit: UCSD

Cole-Dai said the research specifically looked for and found a special indicator of sulfuric acid produced from the volcanic sulfur gas in the stratosphere.

The special indicator is an unusual make-up of sulfur isotopes in the volcanic sulfuric acid. Isotopes are different types of atoms of the same chemical element, each having a different number of neutrons (but the same number of protons). The unique sulfur isotope composition is like a fingerprint of volcanic material that has reached the stratosphere, said Cole-Dai.

The stratosphere is the second major layer of the Earth’s atmosphere, reaching from about six miles to about 30 miles above the Earth’s surface at moderate latitudes. To impact global climate, rather than local weather, the sulfur gas of a volcanic eruption has to reach up into the stratosphere and once there, be spread around the globe.

“The way in which that these volcanoes affected the average temperatures of our planet gives us a better idea of how particulates in the atmosphere can affect our climate,” said Thiemens. “People talk about the possibility of geo-engineering our climate, but the question is how? In this case, nature has done an experiment for us.”

Other members of the research team were South Dakota State post-doctoral researcher David Ferris and graduate student Alyson Lanciki; and Mélanie Baroni of CEREGE (Le Centre Européen de Recherche et d’Enseignement des Géosciences de l’Environnement) at L’Université Paul Cézanne in Aix-en-Provence, France.

The researchers were funded by the National Science Foundation, French Polar Institute (IPEV) and the Institut National des Sciences del’Univers (INSU).

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109 Responses to Previously Unknown Volcanic Eruption Helped Trigger Cold Decade

  1. Bruce says:

    And yet … my suspicious mind suggests that now that the hockey stick is discredited somebody thought it was important to discredit the Dalton Minimum somehow …

    I know … lets find a new volcanic reuption!

  2. Gene Nemetz says:

    …and would also have cooled the earth for a few years.

    Another possible cold time the earth recovered from and that recovery unaccounted for in warming from then until today.

  3. spangled drongo says:

    With two of those bungers going off in the middle of a couple of solar minimums it was lucky the Napoleonic Wars were on to save us from another ice age.
    No wonder Mr Dalton was cold. A pity it has such an effect on the AGW graph.
    And helps to manufacture hockey sticks.

  4. noaaprogrammer says:

    I’ve got it: Volcanoes cause short term global cooling while at the same time causing global warming due to increasing the amount of gases accumulating in the earth’s atmosphere (recall Boyle’s Law from chemistry?) higher pressure = higher temps! Now, all we have to do is figure out how to stop all of those firecrackers from going off. Any suggestions? (We need to divert and keep the warmists busy in some area other than cap & trade.)

  5. Hank says:

    The article isn’t quite explicit on this point. Is this an eruption for which they have found evidence for in ice cores but haven’t yet pinpointed on the globe?

  6. Philip_B says:

    As I noted yesterday, the current decade is the first in modern times to have no major volcanic eruptions, which is likely ‘artificially’ warming it relative to previous decades.

  7. Norm/Calgary says:

    Shouldn’t this then raise the starting point of GW and thereby reduce the delta from 1820 to 2009?

  8. JLKrueger says:

    Assuming that volcanoes have such an impact, it makes the current discussions about “geoengineering” seem even more insane.

    Let’s see, we can’t control volcanoes, we can’t control solar output, we can’t control cosmic energy or clouds, so let’s go and try to geoengineer a cooler planet by injecting “stuff” into the upper atmosphere on purpose! Like we really know with absolute certainty exactly how it all fits together.

    Insane!

  9. savethesharks says:

    Which volcano erupted in 1809? Was it in Antarctica? Was trying to decipher in this article…

    Chris
    Norfolk, VA, USA

  10. Jeff B. says:

    “People talk about the possibility of geo-engineering our climate, but the question is how? In this case, nature has done an experiment for us.”

    Let’s hope some Alarmist nut doesn’t get the idea to create some massive man made sulphuric release in response to AGW fears that then causes even further cooling. Cold is the danger.

  11. gtrip says:

    When and will this ever end? Is this what life without war is all about?…. If so, give me war; At least war is real.

  12. We have seen this kind of hype again and again ["never before seen", "unprecedented", etc]

    This story is old hat:

    Title: Ice core evidence for an explosive tropical volcanic eruption 6
    years preceding Tambora
    Authors: Dai, Jihong; Mosley-Thompson, Ellen; Thompson, Lonnie G.
    Publication: Journal of Geophysical Research (ISSN 0148-0227), vol.
    96, Sept. 20, 1991, p. 17,361-17,366. (JGR Homepage)

    Abstract
    High-resolution analyses of ice cores from Antarctica and Greenland
    reveal an explosive volcanic eruption in the tropics in A.D. 1809
    which is not reflected in the historical record. A comparison in the
    same ice cores of the sulfate flux from the A.D. 1809 eruption to that
    from the Tambora eruption (A.D. 1815) indicates a near-equatorial
    location and a magnitude roughly half that of Tambora. Thus this event
    should be considered comparable to other eruptions producing large
    volumes of sulfur-rich gases such as Coseguina, Krakatau, Agung, and
    El Chichon. The increase in the atmospheric concentration of sulfuric
    acid may have contributed to the Northern Hemisphere cooling observed
    in the early nineteenth century and may account partially for the
    decline in surface temperatures which preceded the eruption of Tambora
    in A.D. 1815.

    Title: Two major volcanic cooling episodes derived from global marine
    air temperature, AD 1807-1827
    Authors: Chenoweth, Michael
    Publication: Geophysical Research Letters, Volume 28, Issue 15, p.
    2963-2966 (GeoRL Homepage), 2001
    DOI: 10.1029/2000GL012648

    Abstract
    A new data set of global marine air temperature data for the years
    1807-1827 is used to show the impact of volcanic eruptions in ~1809
    (unlocated) and 1815 (Tambora, Indonesia). Both eruptions produced
    cooling exceeding that after Krakatoa, Indonesia (1883) and Pinatubo,
    Philippines (1991). The ~1809 eruption is dated to March-June 1808
    based on a sudden cooling in Malaysian temperature data and maximum
    cooling of marine air temperature in 1809. Two large-scale calibrated
    proxy temperature records, one from tree-ring-density data, the other
    using multi-proxy sources are compared to the marine air temperature
    data. Correlation is highest with maximum latewood density data and
    lowest with the multi-proxy data.

    —-

    but nice to have confirmation….

  13. The large eruption of Mayon http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mayon_Volcano in 1814 probably added to the effect.

  14. Konrad says:

    I am surprised they can distinguish the signal of the hypothetical 1809 volcano from the known 1816 eruption. I didn’t know ice core resolution was that fine, especially for sulfur dioxide, which could migrate in water ice. If it were volcanic ash detected in a core I could understand the proposal.

  15. crosspatch says:

    Such a volcano could be almost anywhere. For example Nyiragongo was not discovered by westerners until the late 19th century. To my mind, Nyiragongo represents what might be our best bet for the next supervolcano. It is fed by a mantle plume from deep down inside Earth. Lava from that volcano appears to be almost completely mantle material with very little crustal melt included. The neighboring shield volcano (I cant remember the name off the top of my head) seems to be at the edge of the plume and contains both mantle and crust melt.

    There was an eruption in Saudi Arabia at Jabal Yar at about that time, too, but I don’t believe it would have been large enough. And who knows what was going on in Ethiopia at around that time. My guess is that any volcano near water would have been reported as shipping was pretty much covering the earth at that time. A continental volcano either in Africa, Alaska or someplace like far Eastern Siberia might have gone unnoticed.

    I doubt an eruption in Indonesia would have gone unnoticed as that area was one of the most heavily traveled sea routes of the time.

    Wish they could find some ash. That would help to locate the eruption.

  16. Ric Werme says:

    Where was the volcano? The article says “The researchers reason that, because the sulfuric acid is found in the ice from both polar regions, the eruption probably occurred in the tropics, as Tambora did, where wind patterns could carry volcanic material to the entire world, including both poles.”

    Where could it have been? If it were in Indonesia or Soufrierre, there should be records of it. I wonder if it could have been an underwater eruption that still allowed the release of hot SO2 into the atmosphere.

    I’ll have to update my 1816 page to mention this. I have read other comments claiming there were several eruptions around that time frame, I don’t recall if I have details handy.

    Volcanoes don’t impact climate for very long, 1817 was much warmer than 1816, so I’m a bit skeptical that volcanoes alone can be responsible for that cold decade.

    BTW, I think the region that was most frozen in 1816 was due to the storm track following a significantly more southern route. Areas of the US like Virginia had temperatures much closer to normal. Don’t assume the impact in places like New England and Europe were similar to the rest of the world.

    —-

    Proveit count: 880 in, 5851 out. From the steady small gains each hour,
    there’s no blatant ballot box stuffing going on.

  17. crosspatch says:

    Also confirmation from back in 2002:

    While global cooling followed the
    eruption, climate had already begun to cool before 1815.
    Ice core records from Greenland and Antarctica preserve
    sulfuric acid layers from volcanic eruptions, and while all
    records at both poles show a Tambora layer, they also all
    show a layer from an eruption almost as large in 1808
    or 1809, still unidentified
    . Thus, the climate was probably
    already cooling from a previous large eruption and several
    smaller ones also observed between the two large ones. If
    Tambora had erupted in a warmer climate, the effects would
    have been less harsh. While this is true in an absolute sense,
    in a relative sense they would have been larger and more
    easily attributable to the volcano

    So this information does not seem to be anything new.

  18. crosspatch says:

    Also an eruption in 1808 of Taal (VEI2 explosive eruption)

    So maybe it wasn’t one eruption, maybe it was several large eruptions at about the same time.

  19. gtrip says:

    “A team of chemists from the U.S. and France has found compelling evidence of a previously undocumented large volcanic eruption that occurred exactly 200 years ago, in 1809.”

    Puke….puke again……..

  20. Roger Carr says:

    We did not know?
    What else is there that we do not know?

    It is the presumption of the vain and foolish to believe that knowledge has ended with them.

  21. maksimovich says:

    Ric Werme (22:50:19) :

    : Volcanoes don’t impact climate for very long, 1817 was much warmer than 1816, so I’m a bit skeptical that volcanoes alone can be responsible for that cold decade.

    There is also a possibility that there are centennial implications eg Stenchikov et al 2009

    Sulfate aerosols resulting from strong volcanic explosions last for 2–3 years in the lower stratosphere. Therefore it was traditionally believed that volcanic impacts produce mainly short-term, transient climate perturbations. However, the ocean integrates volcanic radiative cooling and responds over a wide range of time scales. The associated processes, especially ocean heat uptake, play a key role in ongoing climate change. However, they are not well constrained by observations, and attempts to simulate them in current climate models used for climate predictions yield a range of uncertainty. Volcanic impacts on the ocean provide an independent means of assessing these processes. This study focuses on quantification of the seasonal to multidecadal time scale response of the ocean to explosive volcanism. It employs the coupled climate model CM2.1, developed recently at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory, to simulate the response to the 1991 Pinatubo and the 1815 Tambora eruptions, which were the largest in the 20th and 19th centuries, respectively. The simulated climate perturbations compare well with available observations for the Pinatubo period. The stronger Tambora forcing produces responses with higher signal-to-noise ratio. Volcanic cooling tends to strengthen the Atlantic meridional overturning circulation. Sea ice extent appears to be sensitive to volcanic forcing, especially during the warm season. Because of the extremely long relaxation time of ocean subsurface temperature and sea level, the perturbations caused by the Tambora eruption could have lasted well into the 20th century.

    http://www.agu.org/pubs/crossref/2009/2008JD011673.shtml

  22. Roger Carr says:

    Leif Svalgaard (22:38:06) : “We have seen this kind of hype again and again …This story is old hat:”

    Litmus test…

  23. Jason says:

    It is the proposition of the arrogant to drastically change a planet-important value of the world they live on. Argon doesn’t have a cycle. Why don’t you go play with that instead?

  24. Jason says:

    Rule # 1 Don’t play with elements that have cycles. C, O, N, P, H2O (though not an element).. All determining the existance or nonexistance of life.

    If we start altering these values too much in any significant subset where they are important such as air, ocean, land etc. we’re in for some trouble.. Be glad a few of these are impossible to change and the shallow(ing) curve of +temp/+ppm helps us out.

  25. Bob Tisdale says:

    Philip_B (22:15:07) : You wrote, “As I noted yesterday, the current decade is the first in modern times to have no major volcanic eruptions, which is likely ‘artificially’ warming it relative to previous decades.”

    How are you defining modern times? There were also no major explosive volcanic eruptions from the 1920s through the 1950s.

  26. Bob Tisdale says:

    Refer to the Lamb Dust Veil Index. There were also a number of explosive volcanic eruptions during the period, though none as large as Tambora.
    http://cdiac.ornl.gov/ftp/ndp013/ndp013.dat

  27. Sandy says:

    Meteorological principles should still apply when the heat source is geo-thermal rather than insolation.
    The eruption column from Tambora was 28 miles high (RN frigate).
    Before height of mountain 13,000ft after 9,000ft.
    25 miles away the water rose to 12ft above normal high tide.

    Some of that 12ft will be wind driven storm surge, but a good amount must also be lowered atmospheric pressure.

    Why? Well 25 miles away I think we had a hyper-tornado. Something so far beyond a Kansas twister that superlatives run out.
    The amount of hot gases rose not explosively but thermodynamically picking up inrushing air. The sheer heat didn’t notice the inversion at the stratosphere that caps Cu-Nims and when straight on up getting practically all the way out of the atmosphere. But there was no orbital velocity so all the gases and particulates fell back over the atmosphere like an onion skin, leading to no summer the following year. Had that volcanic dreck not been squirted straight through the atmosphere the biological devastation would have covered thousands of miles. Gaia??
    Looking at the crater on google earth it seems now to be very symmetrically round as though it was counter-sunk. To be ground down from 13,000ft to 9,000ft means that some house-size+ chunks of harder lava rock must have been blown about smashing the lava-ash layer structure of the shield volcano. Indeed I’m sure impacts should still be visible today since minerals change under the intense pressure/heat of a few tons at silly speeds.

    So guesses as to the pressure and wind-speeds this monster peaked at?
    I offer 300mb central pressure and 1000mph + wind speeds.

  28. Back2Bat says:

    When and will this ever end? gtrip

    Believe it or not, our banking model is at fault. AGW is seen as a convenient lie to put the brakes on a form of malignant economic growth that is destroying the environment among its many other sins. It is driving people mad.

    Our current model, government backed fractional reserve banking in a government backed monopoly money is based on looting purchasing power (theft) stealthily via inflation and interest rate suppression. It is the culprit behind the boom/bust cycle. See Mises, Rothbard and the Austrian school of economics for details.

    AGW is doomed, IMO, but the hydra will just sprout another head if we don’t fix the root cause.

    War is not the answer.

  29. Leon Brozyna says:

    The previously unknown … previously undocumented … never seen any evidence of this eruption before in the glacial record … our new evidence …

    How embarrassing it must be for them to learn that what they’ve done is not discover something new, but to have replicated a study reported on 18 years previously. And what kind of researchers are they that they appear to be unaware of a similar study of an unlocated 1809 eruption reported on 8 years prior, in the very peer-reviewed journal in which their report appears? Are researchers so driven by the need for funding that they must report on their work as being new rather than independant replication? Just look at how quickly Dr. Svalgaard was able to find those two earlier studies. But then, while replication may serve to confirm the validity of earlier studies, it’s just not as sexy and exciting as reporting on something as a new discovery.

  30. tallbloke says:

    noaaprogrammer (22:09:23) :
    Now, all we have to do is figure out how to stop all of those firecrackers from going off. Any suggestions? (We need to divert and keep the warmists busy in some area other than cap & trade.)

    Form a chain gang of all the warmists to carry rocks up the volcanos and bung up the craters. We could pay them in carbon credits to do it. A new policy of trade and cap.

  31. John Finn says:

    Completely off topic (which just offers more support to the lack of solar influence)…….but have readers since this.

    http://www.sciencemuseum.org.uk/proveit.aspx

    There is a Poll which doesn’t appear to be going terribly well for the copenhagen crowd (i.e. currently around 6 to 1 against action) . If you are still able to vote; the ‘Out’ option (against) is the RH option, the ‘In’ option (For) is to the left. Apparently the results of the poll will be passed onto the UK government.

    Apologies if this has already been mentioned.

  32. Tony Hansen says:

    Bob Tisdale (01:09:23) : ‘There were also no major explosive volcanic eruptions…’ How major is major?
    The VEI numbers seem to bounce around a bit depending on who I read. How much use do you think the older (pre satellite, pre aircraft) VEI figures are?
    There also seems to be some suggestion of a degree of subjectivity in the DVI figures. Is this true, and if so, how much of a problem might it be?
    Do you know of an up-to-date DVI? Everything I have been able to find is rather old.
    Regards

  33. Grumbler says:

    “gtrip (22:33:38) :

    When and will this ever end? Is this what life without war is all about?…. If so, give me war; At least war is real.”

    I agree. Very profound. The threat of war would do the job as well.

    ‘War – what is it good for’ – giving preople a focus and a purpose.

    cheers David

  34. Mr. Alex says:

    OT but check it out :
    http://www.earthfiles.com/news.php?ID=1635&category=Science

    A very interesting new interview with David Hathaway about the deep solar minimum, record cosmic rays and comments on his failed 2006 prediction…an excellent read.

  35. Patrick Davis says:

    My word! Some “event”, previously, “happened”, caused “something big”. I mean, if it is not modelled in a cumputer, nor on YouTube, does it happen?

  36. Don S. says:

    Google “1809 volcano”, get 116,000 hits in under a second. They must not have been able to spare a second from writing the grant application.

  37. Don S. says:

    It appears that the lead investigator here was also associated with a 1991 study of the same subject.

  38. Pofarmer says:

    So, supposedly tsi only changes by one percent.

    What is the equivalent change caused by a volcanic eruption?

  39. Tenuc says:

    There does seem to be a link between geological disturbance and the solar cycle. I wonder if changes to magnetic fields have an effect the Earth’s crust?

  40. Tom says:

    It’s very odd. I tried to find the paper so I could see whether the authors cited the earlier studies (meaning that the press release was overhyped but the authors were responsible) but I can’t find it on line. The AGU has nothing published in any of their journals by the named authors. Possibly SDSU jumped the gun and the study will not be published until next week. Does anyone have the actual citation?

  41. Back2Bat says:

    Grumbler (03:36:37) :

    ‘War – what is it good for’ – giving preople a focus and a purpose.

    Visit a Veteran’s Hospital sometimes is my suggestion. I haven’t the stomach for it but then I don’t advocate for war.

    But OTOH, it is good to see that people realize we have a serious problem even if the proffered solutions are deranged.

    The banking model is based on government-backed systematic violation of
    “Thou shall not steal”, “Thou shall not bear false witness”, commands to use honest weights and measures and commands to not oppress the poor. This is the root of our problems.

  42. P Gosselin says:

    Arctic temps are cooling now. (From Germany).
    http://klimakatastrophe.wordpress.com/2009/10/30/die-arktis-zeigt-seit-2005-eine-tendenz-zur-abkuhlung/

    Translation:
    THE ARCTIC SHOWS COOLING TREND SINCE 2005
    Hard to believe, but it looks like the Arctic has been cooling since 2005 (since about 5 years). One has to wonder because the Arctic is touted as the indicator of global climate change. Precisely here are temperatures supposed to be rising rapidly due to manmade climate change. But now the opposite seems to be occurring.
    The temperature of the north polar region as measured by satellites (above: UAH & RSS) show a drop since 2005.

    This is confirmed by global surface temperature measurements (below, NASA-GISS).

    The north polar region has been cooling since 2005, as the comparison of 2005 to the subsequent 2006-2008 show. A cooling is also measured globally for this period.

    This shows the short term development of the last 5 years.
    How will the trend develop in the future?

  43. Tom in Florida says:

    Mr. Alex (03:39:25) :
    “OT but check it out : http://www.earthfiles.com/news.php?ID=1635&category=Science
    A very interesting new interview with David Hathaway about the deep solar minimum, record cosmic rays and comments on his failed 2006 prediction…an excellent read.”

    In this interview David Hathaway says:”But there also were people back at that time saying otherwise. A group of colleagues led by Leif Svalgaard, Ph.D., were looking at the sun’s polar fields and saying even at that point, the sun’s polar fields were significantly weaker than they had been before and those scientists back then predicted it was going to be a small cycle.”

    He also freely admits he and others were wrong and are now moving on with Dr Svalgarrd’s position.

    This is how science should be. No “I told you so”, no gloating of who was right and who was wrong. No illogical defense of a defenseless position, no personal attacks, no blame, no excuses. Just a simple admission that what was thought at the time didn’t occur. If only the IPCC had such integrity.

  44. Jimbo says:

    Leon Brozyna (02:42:30) :

    The previously unknown … previously undocumented … never seen any evidence of this eruption before in the glacial record … our new evidence …

    Also on the press release they say “The discovery….” instead of the re-discovery:-)

    The South Dakota State post-doctoral researcher David Ferris and others just didn’t do their research did they? Visiting Greenland and Antarctica 3 years ago to ‘dicover’ what was already discovered and waisting money, resources and adding to the toxic Co2 gas in the atmosphere. Maybe their university is desperate for some public cash.

  45. pyromancer76 says:

    Shame on Mark Thiemens, Dean, Div of Phys Sci, UC San Diego. Shame on UC San Diego; Shame on Jihong Cole-Dai, Dept Chem, South Dakota State College; Shame on the Dept of Chemistry there. Leif called them out immediately. Where is the disciplinary process when researchers don’t report the findings that went before their own? Where is the responsibility of scientists (all researchers) to their fields? Where is the humility and respect of all that went before and the pride in truly NEW findings. It’s like slaying fathers over and over again. Narcissism will destroy the scientific method — and representative democracy.

    My real concern is volcanoes and “climate change”. Anthony keeps the subject before us. Maunder Minimum — Little Ice Age — mid-1600s. From Robock: Volcanic Eruptions and Climate (Reviews of Geophysics 38,2 – sorry, I lost the date): …”The radiative forcing from volcanoes are interannual rather than interdecadal in scale. A series of volcanic eruptions could, however, raise the mean optical depth significantly over a longer period and thereby give rise to a decadal-scale cooling”. I don’t know the reputation of the scientist in his field, but he continues with “…Volcanic forcing explained a much larger share of the temperature variability since 1620 than did the solar series. He points to studies in the 1970s, Schneider and Mass [1975] and Robock [1979]. Unfortunately he has gone over to the dark (AGW) side, but my spotty research finds significant volcanic activity in the mid-1600s.

    Examples: 1. Mt. Etna, Italy, periods of voluminous eruptions 1607-1669 (Tanguy ea 2007 Bull. Volcanology). Most of the 17th c eruptions, almost annually, have a VEI of 2 until 1669 when VEI 3 occurs (Billi and Funiciello 2008 A. Geophysics).
    2. Komaga-take, Japan, 1640 eruption, one of largest in Japan during historical time. There was another in 1644. (volcano.si.edu).
    3. A chart of bristlecone pine tree rings (shudder, tremble) and volcanic eruptions over the last 5000 years that finds ring-width minima in two or more regions (~2yrs) and corresponding ice-core volcanic signals within 10 yr of minima shows the following significant dates:
    1602
    1606
    1618
    1641
    1644/45/56
    1675/77
    1681
    (Salzer and Hughes 2007 Quaternary Res 67)
    4. Measuring carbonyl sulfide (COS-a long-lived sulfur gas of which volcanoes contribute 10%) from SPRESSO ice core East Anarctica (if honest, scientifically valid measurements) show a spike beginning in 1600 and increasing toward the end of the century. “A longer period of high volcanic activity occurs around 1600-1700 CE. This coincides with the height of the LIA and elevated COS levels. (p. 7537)” (Aydin ea 2008 Atmos Chem Phys 8:7533)
    5. Lucia on The Blackboard has shown that large swings in GMST are related to volcanic eruptions from ~1890 to 2000. (9/17/08) Her other arguments don’t seem important here.

    The main point is that when a number of powerful enough volcanoes erupt in a narrow time frame, the “natural” cooling they add (I think I read that 25 volcanoes are emitting something everyday ) might coincide with other important factors that bring about cooling. Something interesting with volcanoes has happened at both the Maunder and Dalton minima. Is there any connection?

  46. Greylar says:

    Konrad (22:41:01) :

    I am surprised they can distinguish the signal of the hypothetical 1809 volcano from the known 1816 eruption. I didn’t know ice core resolution was that fine, especially for sulfur dioxide, which could migrate in water ice. If it were volcanic ash detected in a core I could understand the proposal.

    Oh yea, in fact the CIA is using it to spy on peoples eating habits which affect gaseous emissions into the atmosphere and ultimately polar ice.

  47. Bill Tuttle says:

    I mean, if it is not modelled in a cumputer, nor on YouTube, does it happen?

    If a husband says something in the forest and his wife is not around to hear it, is he still wrong?

  48. Fred2 says:

    I love reading this stuff, you realize that man is but energetic little pimple on the hind end of an geological elephant.

    Something like the Deccan or Siberian traps, massive asteriods, etc… could happen and we’d all be dead or back inthe stone age (about the same thing, really for all but an unlucky few) faster than you could say “what was that loud noise?”

  49. Curiousgeorge says:

    @ Grumbler (03:36:37) :

    “gtrip (22:33:38) :

    When and will this ever end? Is this what life without war is all about?…. If so, give me war; At least war is real.”

    I agree. Very profound. The threat of war would do the job as well.

    ‘War – what is it good for’ – giving preople a focus and a purpose.

    cheers David”

    Without conflict this would be a barren planet. I have little patience with those who claim that war never solved anything.

  50. SunSword says:

    Has anyone ever plotted major volcanic eruptions over say the past 150 years against the “global temperature average” plot? It would be interesting to see if there is any correlation.

  51. Ed Scott says:

    Jeff B. (22:33:16)
    Let’s hope some Alarmist nut doesn’t get the idea to create some massive man made sulphuric release in response to AGW fears that then causes even further cooling. Cold is the danger.
    ————————————
    Jeff, the rocket scientist politician alarmist nuts have been busy doing what they do best: making the situation worse.
    ————————————-
    http://ace.mu.nu/
    Cow farts worse for global warming than initially suspected
    —Purple Avenger
    Methane! – “new and improved”, now with 30% more evil!!.

    …When this indirect effect of the potent greenhouse gas is included one tonne of methane has about 33 times as much effect on the climate over 100 years as a tonne of carbon dioxide, rather than 25 times as in standard estimates…
    But wait, there’s more!
    …Sulphate molecules, produced when sulphur dioxide is oxidised in the atmosphere, have a cooling effect on the climate as they reflect heat but, while their direct effects are included in climate models, their indirect effects in combination with methane and other gases are not.

    Methane and carbon monoxide reduce levels of sulphate aerosols, because they use up oxidants such as hydroxyl in the atmosphere. Fewer oxidant molecules are thus available to oxidise sulphur dioxide to produce sulphate…

    All that “low sulfur” diesel we PAY EXTRA to refine and produce is actually hurting the effort to combat global warming, by reducing available sulfur dioxides for sulphate reaction.

    I ask you — is there anywhere else on the planet other than the USA where there are rocket scientist politicians who allow you to pay extra for the privilege of hurting the planet and being a dupe of the dark lord global warming all in one shot? I think not. Only in America baby, only in America.

  52. Leon Brozyna (02:42:30) :
    How embarrassing it must be for them to learn that what they’ve done is not discover something new, but to have replicated a study reported on 18 years previously.

    Press release 2009:
    “We found large amount of volcanic sulfuric acid in the snow layers of 1809 and 1810 in both Greenland and Antarctica,” said professor Jihong Cole-Dai of SDSU’s Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, who was the lead author of the paper.

    Paper 1991:
    Title: Ice core evidence for an explosive tropical volcanic eruption 6
    years preceding Tambora
    Authors:
    Dai, Jihong; Mosley-Thompson, Ellen; Thompson, Lonnie G.
    Publication: Journal of Geophysical Research (ISSN 0148-0227), vol.
    96, Sept. 20, 1991, p. 17,361-17,366. (JGR Homepage)

  53. delete previous pot, pleas
    Leon Brozyna (02:42:30) :
    How embarrassing it must be for them to learn that what they’ve done is not discover something new, but to have replicated a study reported on 18 years previously.

    Press release 2009:
    “We found large amount of volcanic sulfuric acid in the snow layers of 1809 and 1810 in both Greenland and Antarctica,” said professor Jihong Cole-Dai of SDSU’s Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, who was the lead author of the paper.

    Paper 1991:
    Title: Ice core evidence for an explosive tropical volcanic eruption 6
    years preceding Tambora
    Authors: Dai, Jihong; Mosley-Thompson, Ellen; Thompson, Lonnie G.
    Publication: Journal of Geophysical Research (ISSN 0148-0227), vol.
    96, Sept. 20, 1991, p. 17,361-17,366.

    ———————

    workers in the field have long known about the strong volcanic activity 1808-1816. It largely explains the very anomalous behavior of the 10Be deposition at that time. An anomaly that has been ascribed to lack of solar activity. An example can be seen in the Figure on page 2 of http://www.leif.org/research/TSI%20From%20McCracken%20HMF.pdf

  54. rbateman says:

    “People talk about the possibility of geo-engineering our climate, but the question is how?

    No, the question is “Where do people like that get off contemplating forcing volcanoes to satisfy thier Utopian vision of Gaia, thereby reducing the ability of a Planet Earth currently supporting ~7 Billion to ~ 2 billion?”.
    Who appointed them to the status of playing God on Earth?

  55. timetochooseagain says:

    “1810 to 1819 is regarded by scientists as the coldest on record for the past 500 years”

    How can this possibly be known with such confidence? The only evidence available are scattered meteorological stations and proxies. Given the shenanigans that we have seen go on with paleo stuff, and given even the large stated uncertainty in such records, I feel perfectly in the right to call BS.

    Another thing-the cooling of a volcanic eruption, even a large one, is fairly short lived. So two cold make a decade cool, but downright cold? Probably not.

    However, solar cycles five and six were pretty weak…

  56. G. Karst says:

    Volcanic eruptions during times of solar minimums seem to be a knock-out punch for the planet biosphere. May the idol lord gaia prevent such an eruption during the current minimum. People who like to eat will then discover how desirable warming is. Cold is the death knell of flourishing food surpluses and the possibility of peaceful human co-existence. We live on an extremely dangerous planet. It only appears safe due to our short life spans and inability to view history in perspective.

  57. Tom (04:48:43) :
    Possibly SDSU jumped the gun and the study will not be published until next week. Does anyone have the actual citation?
    It is in ‘papers in press’ and does indeed reference the 18-yr old result by the lead author Dai,
    Dai is not at fault, but the organization around him. We have seen so many of these PR hypes lately, especially from NASA. Sure sign of over hype: if the PR says ‘breakthrough’, ‘unprecedented’, ‘scientists are baffled’, etc.

  58. Gene Nemetz says:

    noaaprogrammer (22:09:23) :

    (We need to divert and keep the warmists busy in some area other than cap & trade.)

    Above average snow in many Northern Hemisphere nations around the world may do the trick. And let’s remind them of the record cold in the US and Europe.

    I could guesstimate that record cold is happening in China, Mongolia, and such in other parts of the Northern Hemisphere. But where does one find that data?

  59. The paper says:

    “Volcanic sulfate was found in the 1809-1811 snow layers of Greenland as well as Antarctica ice cores [e.g.,Cole-Dai et al., 1997; 2000; Dai et al., 1991; Mosley-Thompson et al., 2003; Palmer et al., 2001], and was considered as evidence of a large eruption in the tropics that distributed volcanic aerosols to both hemispheres. However, evidence from tephra (fine volcanic ash) in ice cores [Kurbatov et al., 2006; Yalcin et al., 2006] suggests that the sulfuric acid deposits on the Greenland and Antarctica ice sheets may have resulted from small or moderate eruptions that occurred contemporaneously in the high latitudes of both hemispheres. Here we present more specific and compelling evidence than the bi-polar sulfuric acid deposition in 1810-1811, in the form of unique isotopic composition of the volcanic sulfate in ice cores and of the precise timing of the volcanic deposition in the polar regions, to confirm a stratospheric eruption around 1809″

    Nothing wrong with this. Good, actually to have confirmation. The fault is with the PR department and the University Dean.

  60. maz2 says:

    Will someone please decode/explain these words:

    “… world emissions would have to peak by 2015 to avoid the worst of desertification, floods, extinctions or rising seas.”

    Here is the entire paragraph:

    “All sides agree progress has been too slow since talks began in 2007, spurred by findings by the U.N. Climate Panel that world emissions would have to peak by 2015 to avoid the worst of desertification, floods, extinctions or rising seas.”

    Source:

    “U.N. talks in Spain seek to salvage climate deal
    Reuters ^ | October 31, 2009 | By Alister Doyle”
    http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/2375349/posts

  61. SunSword (07:34:37) :
    Has anyone ever plotted major volcanic eruptions over say the past 150 years against the “global temperature average” plot? It would be interesting to see if there is any correlation.
    There is. There is.

  62. Aligner says:

    From 2005 WAIS Workshop … refers to Dia et al 1991 per Leif’s post (for those who can’t get to the actual paper).

    http://neptune.gsfc.nasa.gov/wais/pastmeetings/PPT05/Kurbatov.pdf

    Click once for slide index, see slides 13 & 14.

  63. J. Bob says:

    Good article.

    The following are some long term temperature graphs, constructed using data from http://www.rimfrost.no/ . In addition, the East English data from 1659 and the Dutch De Bilt data were also included. These were converted to the “anomaly” format used by CRU. The three figures, below, show data plots using data records beginning prior to 1700, 1750 and 1800. These represented 1, 4 and 14 stations respectfully. The set for the 1750-2008 range also included station information from Berlin and Uppsala. The upper portion of the figure compares the resultant averaged raw data with the CRU 1850-2008 data. The lower part of the figure illustrates filtering the raw signals with a 40 year Fourier filter.

    In looking at all three graphs, the 1810 dip shows up. The most interesting is the 1800-2008 plot. This includes stations from Paris to Warsaw, Edinburgh to Budapest, and covers a significant area of western Europe.

    http://www.imagenerd.com/uploads/lt-temp-1650-2008-1-Rxrdy.gif
    http://www.imagenerd.com/uploads/lt-temp-1750-2008-4-EyvXd.gif
    http://www.imagenerd.com/uploads/lt-temp-1800-2008-14-9ZSv8.gif

    A side issue is that if one plotted long term slopes, they show a much flatter pattern (~0.003 deg/year) then if one started from 1850 (or 1900) to the current time. The other point is the almost flat slope of the Hadcet, while the Ave sets show a definite slowing of temperature rise.

  64. pyromancer76 (06:37:51) :
    From Robock: Volcanic Eruptions and Climate (Reviews of Geophysics 38,2 – sorry, I lost the date): …”The radiative forcing from volcanoes are interannual rather than interdecadal in scale. A series of volcanic eruptions could, however, raise the mean optical depth significantly over a longer period and thereby give rise to a decadal-scale cooling”. I don’t know the reputation of the scientist in his field, but he continues with “…Volcanic forcing explained a much larger share of the temperature variability since 1620 than did the solar series.

    Papers in Reviews of Geophysics are by invitation only; this is an indication that Robock’s work is solid and that he is reputable. In the note I referred to earlier, Figure 2 shows the 10Be anomalies and indicates some of the eruptions I thought responsible for the abnormality. In true spirit of pseudo-science, some people make the leap that solar activity is creating volcanic eruptions too, to maintain the solar connection.

  65. crosspatch says:

    “How can this possibly be known with such confidence?”

    There are many ways. One way is glacial advance. The LIA saw the greatest advance of glaciers in this millennium and probably since the Younger Dryas.

    This can be determined by dating the logs that are uncovered as these glaciers advanced through forest. There was another period of glacial advance somewhere around 200AD, I believe, but it wasn’t as extensive as the advance that ended in the 19th century.

    There are two studies published this year in Quaternary Research that document glacial advance and retreat over the past couple thousand years. One is concerned with a glacier in Alaska and one in the Italian Alps. It was interesting to me that they showed similar things going on at opposite sides of the Northern Hemisphere at about the same time.

  66. crosspatch says:

    “This can be determined by dating the logs that are uncovered as these glaciers advanced through forest. ”

    That wasn’t exactly clear. I meant: this can be determined by dating logs that were covered by the advancing glacier as they are uncovered when the glacier retreats.

  67. Bill Sticker says:

    “I mean, if it is not modelled in a cumputer, nor on YouTube, does it happen?”

    Does this mean Berkleyism is making a comeback?
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_Berkeley
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Immaterialism

  68. blondieBC says:

    RE: savethesharks (22:22:00) :

    Which volcano erupted in 1809? Was it in Antarctica?

    Answer: Volcanic gases do not pass the equator easily. Since in both Greenland and Antarctica ice core, the volcano was near the equator. A good guess is plus or minus 15 degrees from the equator. The most likely area is the indonesia area or near equador. I hope this helps.

  69. GP says:

    Leon Brozyna (02:42:30) :

    “The previously unknown … previously undocumented … never seen any evidence of this eruption before in the glacial record … our new evidence …

    How embarrassing it must be for them to learn that what they’ve done is not discover something new, but to have replicated a study reported on 18 years previously. And what kind of researchers are they that they appear to be unaware of a similar study of an unlocated 1809 eruption reported on 8 years prior, in the very peer-reviewed journal in which their report appears? ”

    Er, more like forgetful it seems since the lead author appears to be one and the same for both this new paper and the first of the papers that LS lists in his earlier post.

    So, is this an enhancement to the original work or does the University carry the responsibility of not appreciating that there was an earlier paper when they made the press release? Or was the press release an accident of some sort … ?

  70. GP says:

    Re my previous – posted before I saw the further posts and clarification from LS.

    Seems I made a lucky guess on where the error lies.

  71. Lee Kington says:

    Bob Tisdale (01:09:23) : There were also no major explosive volcanic eruptions from the 1920s through the 1950s.

    I don’t know Bob. I think that anything with a VEI 4 or larger is classified as a major eruption and a 5 definitely is.

    KLIUCHEVSKOI Kamchatka Peninsula (Russia) 1931 Mar 25 4
    ANIAKCHAK Alaska Peninsula 1931 May 1 4
    ANIAKCHAK Alaska Peninsula 1931 May 11 4?
    FUEGO Guatemala 1932 Jan 21 4
    AZUL, CERRO Central Chile 1932 Apr 10 5+
    KHARIMKOTAN Kuril Islands 1933 Jan 8 5
    SUOH Sumatra (Indonesia) 1933 Jul 10 4
    KUCHINOERABU-JIMA Ryukyu Islands (Japan) 1933 Dec 24 4?
    RABAUL New Britain 1937 May 29 4?
    MICHOACAN-GUANAJUATO México 1943 Feb 20 4
    AVACHINSKY Kamchatka Peninsula (Russia) 1945 Feb 25 4
    SARYCHEV PEAK Kuril Islands 1946 Nov 9 4
    HEKLA Southern Iceland 1947 Mar 29 4
    AMBRYM Vanuatu 1951 4+
    LAMINGTON New Guinea 1951 Jan 21 4
    KELUT Java (Indonesia) 1951 Aug 31 4
    BAGANA Bougainville Island 1952 Feb 29 4
    SPURR Southwestern Alaska 1953 Jul 9 4
    CARRAN-LOS VENADOS Central Chile 1955 Jul 27 4
    BEZYMIANNY Kamchatka Peninsula (Russia) 1956 Mar 30 5

    Information from http://www.volcano.si.edu/world/largeeruptions.cfm

    Sometime ago I graphed known VEI 4 or larger eruptions.
    http://i247.photobucket.com/albums/gg136/BigLee57/MajorVol1.jpg

  72. crosspatch says:

    “A good guess is plus or minus 15 degrees from the equator.”

    Or, one in the Northern Hemisphere and one in the Southern Hemisphere within a few months of each other.

  73. Bryan says:

    Bob Tisdale (01:09:23) :
    Philip_B (22:15:07) : You wrote, “As I noted yesterday, the current decade is the first in modern times to have no major volcanic eruptions, which is likely ‘artificially’ warming it relative to previous decades.”
    How are you defining modern times? There were also no major explosive volcanic eruptions from the 1920s through the 1950s.Refer to the Lamb Dust Veil Index. There were also a number of explosive volcanic eruptions during the period, though none as large as Tambora.
    http://cdiac.ornl.gov/ftp/ndp013/ndp013.dat
    __________________________________________________
    pyromancer76 (06:37:51) :
    (snip)
    My real concern is volcanoes and “climate change”. Anthony keeps the subject before us. Maunder Minimum — Little Ice Age — mid-1600s. From Robock: Volcanic Eruptions and Climate (Reviews of Geophysics 38,2 – sorry, I lost the date): …”The radiative forcing from volcanoes are interannual rather than interdecadal in scale. A series of volcanic eruptions could, however, raise the mean optical depth significantly over a longer period and thereby give rise to a decadal-scale cooling”.
    (snip)
    The main point is that when a number of powerful enough volcanoes erupt in a narrow time frame, the “natural” cooling they add (I think I read that 25 volcanoes are emitting something everyday ) might coincide with other important factors that bring about cooling. Something interesting with volcanoes has happened at both the Maunder and Dalton minima. Is there any connection?
    ________________________________________________________

    Interesting comments regarding quantity of eruptions vs singally large energetic eruptions being a cause for decadal temperature fluctuations. This could also serve to “Prove”a cause for the current decadal long temperature stabalization (slight decrease) offsetting the prior increase trend opposed to the current solar minimum.

    Some interesting facts concerning current volcanism (since 1995)

    |||Between the years of 1995 and 1999, while temperatures were still increasing to the 1998 maximum in the records, there were 34 separate volcanic eruptions (some below water) in various parts of but all over the world.
    |||Between the years of 2000 and 2006, during the first temperature drop off and slight rebound from 1998 levels, there were 72 separate volcanic eruptions also in various parts of but all over the world.
    |||Then from 2007 o 2009 there were another 34 separate eruptions during the last downturn in temperatures
    further spurred on by another 18 currently ongoing eruptions:
    Arenal, Costa Rica
    Bagana, Bougainville, Papua New Guinea
    Colima, Mexico
    Dukono, Indonesia
    Fuego, Guatemala
    Karymsky, Kamchatka, Russia
    Kilauea, Hawaii
    Manam, Papua New Guinea
    Masaya, Nicaragua
    Sakura-Jima, Japan
    Sangay, Ecuador
    Santa Maria, Guatemala
    Semeru, Java, Indonesia
    Shiveluch, Kamchatka, Russia
    Soufriere Hills, Montserrat, West Indies
    Stromboli, Italy
    Suwanose-Jima Ryukyu Islands, Japan
    Tungurahua, Ecuador

    While certainly there haven’t been any eruptions that could rival Pinatubo in the last decade but we have had a significant volume that could have had a greater effect on the current cooling trend more so than a .1% drop in solar activity.

  74. crosspatch says:

    And I suppose that is what I am getting at. Maybe there is no one single eruption. Maybe it is an odd chance of several smaller eruptions that happened within a few months of each other at different points on the globe. None of them by themselves are all that spectacular, but taken in summation, they could have produced a lot of SO

  75. Bryan says:

    maz2 (09:31:26) :
    Will someone please decode/explain these words:
    “… world emissions would have to peak by 2015 to avoid the worst of desertification, floods, extinctions or rising seas.”
    Here is the entire paragraph:
    “All sides agree progress has been too slow since talks began in 2007, spurred by findings by the U.N. Climate Panel that world emissions would have to peak by 2015 to avoid the worst of desertification, floods, extinctions or rising seas.”
    __________________________________________________________

    I believe that this is alarmist language stating that the world will experience far greater Desertification (transformatin to desert), Flooding, rising seas and extinctions if our current CO2 output levels do not begin to show signs of curtailment activities with a steady decline being measured by 2015

  76. Bill Illis says:

    The surface temperature impact of the volcanoes is short-lived and is within the variability that exists normally. They do show up, but the impact is over-stated.

    The large volcanoes do have a much bigger impact on the stratosphere however. There is an initial rapid increase in temperatures in the layer as the volcanic particles absorb sunlight but then there is a longer-term cooling (0.5C to 1.0C cooler than prior to the eruption) as ozone is destroyed/converted. It can take decades for the ozone to rebuild.

    Technically, this should produce a short cooling event at the surface and then warming in the longer-term as less UV radiation is intercepted in the stratosphere. (Just something that should be explored by someone).

  77. Aligner says:

    blondieBC (10:27:53)

    Re Dia et al 1991. How accurate are these techniques? Can anything about the probable location be reasonably inferred from the difference in ratio to the Tambora signal in the Greenland and Antarctica cores? i.e. Further north than Tambora? Too many other factors in play I guess.

  78. Back2Bat says:

    “Does this mean Berkleyism is making a comeback?” Bill Sticker

    I read in The Loss of Certainty by Morris Kline that the existence of infinitesimals has been proven.

    I am tired of just a BS so to get my honorary PHD in climatology here is my theory of climate change

    1. for some reason the earth cools and the crust contracts causing increased pressure in the mantle.

    2. this causes a volcano to erupt.

    3. The release of sulfur compounds reflects sunlight and causes further cooling causing more crustal contraction and more volcanoes.

    4. The CO2 released from the volcanoes reverses the cooling and the crust expands releasing the pressure on the mantle.

    5. Plant life sequesters the CO2 and the planet cools repeating the cycle.

    Junk science is easy.

  79. Jeff says:

    The volcanic effect cannot be world wide & thus effect world climate unless an eruption is large enough to punch through to the stratosphere, ie VEI 5 or more.
    Otherwise it is just a local effect.

  80. Pat Moffitt says:

    The “Year Without a Summer” was accompanied by massive crop failures- if indeed this rapid cooling was the result of volcanic activity- would not excess CO2 be a valuable insurance policy (using IPCC logic)? Rapid temperature decline is far more dangerous than slow temperature increase to an industrialized society. Do we not have more to fear from another “Year without a Summer”

  81. Nick Britnell says:

    I’m sure I read, perhaps on this site, that the summer that wasn’t was caused by a massive and sustained eruptive event on Iceland that released perhaps even “unprecedented” SO2 and that this event lasted several months. Yes, no maybe so?

  82. SSam says:

    Sorry for not having a source link… but I read an abstract a while back that seemed to indicate that tropical volcanoes were much less efficient at getting the SO2 into the upper atmosphere. Seems the higher humidity of the tropics allows for more H2O reaction and a pre-leeching from the eruptive column.

    All I could make of it was that tropical eruptions have to be more intense to have as great an effect as higher latitude volcanic eruptions.

  83. Tony Hansen says:

    Jeff (11:39:43)
    How reliable are the VEI figures, especially (pre satellite and pre aircraft)?

  84. Benjamin P. says:

    Mildly OT, but why not tag it volcanism rather than vulcanism? Vulcanism is an archaic spelling. Nobody in the business of studying volcanoes uses vulcanism. I am just curious why you chose to do so here?

    Ben

  85. Paddy says:

    Jeff (11:39:43) : Is not all weather local and regional? Is not all climate data from mathematical constructs of local and regional weather data over time spans of several decades? What is your point?

  86. Jeff says:

    Tony Hansen (13:04:25) :

    Jeff (11:39:43)
    How reliable are the VEI figures, especially (pre satellite and pre aircraft)?

    It’s largely based on volume of ejecta so I would think it’s pretty accurate unless the the eruption in question is so old that erosion can significantly distort the eruptive results.

  87. Jeff says:

    Paddy (13:45:15) :

    Jeff (11:39:43) : Is not all weather local and regional? Is not all climate data from mathematical constructs of local and regional weather data over time spans of several decades? What is your point?

    The point is that unless the volcanic eruption can punch through the lower atmosphere & into the stratosphere, the jet stream cannot pickup & distribute the ash, SO2 & etc. world-wide.

    But, you’re right, it isn’t climate at all but a world-wide weather event of only a few years duration.

  88. Willis Eschenbach says:

    Leif Svalgaard (22:38:06), you said:

    We have seen this kind of hype again and again ["never before seen", "unprecedented", etc]

    This story is old hat:

    Title: Ice core evidence for an explosive tropical volcanic eruption 6
    years preceding Tambora

    As is sometimes my practice, I wrote to the lead authors asking why this was “new” and “unknown”. I received a very quick and detailed response from Dr. Jihong Cole-Dai. As it was a private email I am loath to quote it. However, he said:

    1. By “previously undocumented” they meant that there is no written historical documentation, and 2) there has not been any evidence that this was one big eruption and not two small eruptions.

    He goes on to say that they believe that they present “new and compelling” evidence that a single large eruption occurred in 1909.

    While this seems a bit weak to me, and the claims in the press release still seem quite overblown, I must give full points to Dr. Cole-Dai for the promptness and the pleasant tone of his response to my questions.

    Would that all climate scientists were so honest and forthcoming.

    w.

  89. ztev says:

    Regarding the Previous research about the evidence of major eruption as in this comment:

    “How embarrassing it must be for them to learn that what they’ve done is not discover something new, but to have replicated a study reported on 18 years previously.”

    I understand the new research to have been done in Greenland, while in 91 the results were from Antarctica only. So they have evidence from both polar regions now and therefore the most likely eruption point was in the tropics.
    THis seems most likely that they were looking for a similar record in Greenland to what they found in Antartica.

  90. crosspatch says:

    Mauna Loa erupted in 1907. Seems like there were a LOT of volcanic eruptions at around that time.

    Aha!

    Ksudach erupted also in 1907 and that was the largest eruption recorded so far on Kamchatka.

    What is interesting about that one is this:

    Spectral and pyrheliometric measurements of atmospheric transmission were made by staff members of the Astrophysical Observatory of the Smithsonian Institution at Washington, D. C., and at Mount Wilson, California, during the years 1901–1920. These valuable data are analyzed here with the help of a new inversion method to derive the effective, or area-weighted, radii of stratospheric aerosols formed after three very large volcanic eruptions in this period. After the great eruptions of Katmai (1912) and Santa Maria (1902), r eff remained close to 0.3 μm for at least two years. This near constancy of r eff has been duplicated in modern times by the aerosols from El Chichón (1982). Following Ksudach’s (1907) eruption, r eff grew from 0.2–0.3 μm to 0.4–0.5 μm in about 1 year. Pinatubo’s (1991) aerosols grew similarly.

    So we saw about the same aerosol effective radii from Ksudach as from Pinatubo as measured from Mount Wilson in California and in Washington DC in 2007 to 2008. And I would imagine it would rain in over the following year or three and get deposited in ice.

    This study of atmospheric aerosols makes no reference to any “mystery” eruption in 1909 but so far between 1907 and 1909, I have managed to locate several significant eruptions in both the Northern and Southern hemisphere. That seems to have been a very active period.

    Had there been a single eruption in 1909 as large as implied by the authors of the study in the original post of this thread, one would think the signature would have been noted by the study then going on of stratospheric aerosols. No such aerosols were noted as far as I can tell.

  91. Chris Knight says:

    Crosspatch, the study quotes 1809, not 1909.

    Ice cores from both Arctic and Antarctic record both the 1809 unknown and the 1815 Tambora event, as do some coral studies, which have the added benefit of being able to analyse codeposited O18 isotopes to check the ocean temperature at the time of incorporation into the coral.

    Crowley, T. J., T. M. Quinn, and F. W. Taylor, 1997. Evidence for a volcanic cooling signal in a 335 year coral record from New Caledonia, Paleoceanography 12, 633-639

    The evidence from the above work indicates the eruption started in 1808, somewhere in the tropics, corroborating the ice core data. There were 16 interannual cooling events following volcanic eruptions in the 355 year (1657-1992) period studied, several at the beginning of the 19th century.

  92. Ulric Lyons says:

    Using CET as an indicator of N.H. departures from normals for this period:
    1809 2.0 5.7 6.0 5.2 13.1 13.7 15.1 14.8 12.7 10.2 4.6 4.1 8.93
    1810 2.2 3.5 4.9 8.2 9.2 14.6 15.2 14.6 13.9 9.8 5.4 3.6 8.76
    1811 1.2 4.6 7.1 8.9 12.8 14.1 16.1 14.4 13.7 12.3 7.7 3.1 9.67
    1812 2.6 5.3 3.5 5.5 10.9 13.0 14.2 14.3 13.2 9.3 4.9 1.7 8.20
    1813 1.9 5.8 6.8 7.6 11.6 13.6 15.0 14.5 12.5 8.1 4.3 2.8 8.71
    1814 -2.9 1.4 2.9 9.6 9.2 12.2 16.0 14.7 12.8 8.1 4.7 4.3 7.75
    1815 0.3 6.5 7.3 8.1 12.6 14.3 14.9 15.3 13.4 10.3 3.4 2.3 9.06
    1816 2.7 2.1 3.9 6.6 9.9 12.8 13.4 13.9 11.8 10.3 3.9 3.1 7.87
    1817 4.5 6.4 5.5 7.6 8.7 15.1 14.1 13.6 13.2 6.4 9.1 2.5 8.89
    1818 4.4 2.7 4.5 6.9 11.3 16.4 18.2 15.3 13.3 12.0 9.5 3.6 9.84
    1819 4.4 4.3 6.8 8.6 11.5 13.4 16.4 17.4 13.4 9.1 4.1 1.4 9.23
    we can see 1818/19 are not cold, nor is 1811. The very cold 1814 winter is 5yrs after 1809, and is obviously due to another cause. Apart from 1816, the remaining years typically have cold winters and warm summers, the opposite of what is claimed of volcanic effects in this region.

  93. Phil says:

    Benjamin P. (13:38:16) :

    Mildly OT, but why not tag it volcanism rather than vulcanism? Vulcanism is an archaic spelling. Nobody in the business of studying volcanoes uses vulcanism. I am just curious why you chose to do so here?

    Ben

    Too many treckies???

  94. John S. says:

    Willis Eschenbach (22:27:10):

    Cole-Dai responded promptly and courteously because he is a chemist, not a “climate scientist.”

    Ulric Lyons (07:15:22):

    CET is quite localized; it by no means provides an indication of hemispheric temperatures. And in its earliest stretches (prior to ~1750) it may be reasonably doubted that it it provides a reliable indication of temperatures in Central England.

  95. John S. says:

    Major volcanic eruptions do have a perceptible effect on global temperatures. However, that effect is episodic and short-lived. As Bill Illis (11:05:36) correctly points out, that effect is quite minor vis a vis persistent natural variabilty. There is no detectible ongoing “signal,” even on a decadal scale.

    The descent into the Daulton minimum and the recovery therefrom took a few decades. The role of volcanism during that remarkable period, which also saw a cluster of Richter 8+ earthquakes, should be studied by means more rigorous than hand-waving association, hyped by a UCSD (sic!) press release.

  96. John S. (11:03:41) :
    There is no detectible ongoing “signal,” even on a decadal scale.
    And how do we know that what detected in 1809-1819 was not the decadal signal?

  97. crosspatch says:

    “Crosspatch, the study quotes 1809, not 1909. ”

    DOH!

  98. crosspatch says:

    My guess still would be Africa or different eruptions at about the same time. Anything in Indonesia would have been recorded. Philippines would have been recorded. Hawai’i would have been recorded.

    A VE6 volcanic event is not easy to conceal unless it happened under the ocean. The Dutch had an established penal colony in Indonesia in 1809 and a VE6 eruption would have been noticed.

    There seems to be a report of a tsunami in South Africa in 1809 but that was likely due to local earthquake. There was a tsunami-like phenomenon in Italy on July 4, 1809:

    ”Gazette Nationale” (1809) is reported:
    “…the inhabitants of La Spezia and those living in the whole
    gulf observed an extraordinary tide on 4 July. … At about
    8 a.m. the sea, that till then was absolutely calm, suddenly
    rose about 1m above its usual limit. This extraordinary tide
    lasted for about 15–20min rising and falling. No apparent
    cause was observed. … The tide was so strong and quick
    that the sea water flew up to the city of La Spezia through
    a small canal that crosses the city itself. Some merchants
    that were settled in the embankments ran away. … Large
    parts of the low beach were left dry and some big fishes were
    dragged by the water and trapped in the dried beach … The
    first flux of the sea water was followed by 4 or 5 others that
    gradually diminished their strength. … We can suppose that
    the effects of this extraordinary tide was due to some seismic
    shock, or submarine or in land.”

    There was some kind of unrest around Guam in 1810 with several islands being swamped by tsunami.

    I can find no evidence of anything that would show a massive volcanic event. No evidence of strange weather, odd clouds, strange sunsets, or diminished sunshine as seen with other large volcanic eruptions. There are no reports of major tsunami. There are no reports of unusual pumice floats on the high seas.

    An English journal reported that during an 1809 storm, three “balls of fire” appeared and “attacked” the British ship HMS Warren Hastings. The crew watched one ball descend, killing a man on deck and setting the main mast on fire. A crewman went out to retrieve the fallen body and was struck by a second ball, which knocked him back and left him with mild burns. A third man was killed by contact with the third ball. Crew members reported a persistent, sickening sulfur smell afterward

    So if the release of sulfur was larger than that of Pinatubo, could it have been by other means? Maybe a magma chamber somewhere found a way to release its gas by less violent means without as violent of an eruption?

    The Tambora eruption resulted in two days of darkness within 600km of the volcano. That makes it even more difficult to hide such an eruption. It is pretty difficult to draw a 600km circle in the tropics and have it not fall on an area of at least some population unless it is well out at sea.

    The year after Tambora, 1816, saw widespread reports of “dry fog” but there are no such reports in 1810 that I can find. How can you have a larger eruption with more sulfur but no reports of any impact from that sulfur other than in ice cores?

    The eruption of 535 also produced strange clouds, dry fog, etc. But nothing from 1809/1810.

    Tambora blocked about 25% of the sun’s light globally. A larger eruption would have surely been noticed. The 535 Krakatau eruption blocked about 1/2 the sun’s light. Toba is extimated to have blocked enough as to have prevented photosynthesis blocking over 90% of the sun’s light.

    There is no evidence of any reduced sunshine in the 1809/1810 years.

    I do not dispute that there is a layer of acidic precipitation that is dated to 1809 but there really does not appear to be any other corroborating evidence of there having been a large eruption at that time. There must be some other explanation for it or it was an eruption of a type that is very rare.

  99. Les Francis says:

    There was no serious Volcanolgy until after the Krakatau event of 1883.

    Events in the tropical regions to this period were chronicalised by ships logs, military reports or colonists anecdotes. No serious scientific study.

    Indonesia has the most active Volcanoes. Many are not been studied – many with only cursory reports. The Indonesian Volcanlogical Institute concentrate mainly on the Volcanoes that are known to cause population impact – there is no funding for comprehensive studies.
    There are some current ethnic groups within Sumatera with a written language and history. Some of these groups have historical documents that chronicle geophysical events such as Earthquakes, Tsunamis and eruptions.

    Some years ago I was based in Tanjungkarang-Telukbetung at the bottom of Sumatera. While there I have met various geophysical groups doing studies of Krakatau. Some of these different group studies contradict each other.
    I have also seen film crews making documentaries with some – make a bold statement – rent a scientists

  100. crosspatch says:

    I understand that there was little study done, but an eruption of that magnitude would have produced other indicators that would be reported in weather reports, anecdotes, reports of some mass of pumice, strange clouds, dry fog, odd sunsets, something.

    All I can find are two volcanic events that were reported to have caused spectacular sunsets in Europe. The 1808 eruption in the Azores and the 1809 (Mar 27) eruption of Etna (VEI2 and probably tropospheric, smaller than the 1811 [Oct 27] eruption at Etna). But other than the spectacular sunsets, no mention of any other indications.

  101. TJA says:

    “War is not the answer.” – Back2Bat (Phillies fan?)

    While it may be true that “war is not the answer”, it is also true that war *is* an answer, viz Japan, Germany. Since no other “answer” seems to be forthcoming, I am betting on more war. Not advocating it, mind you. Just don’t see human nature changing.

    I would be interested in hearing any proposals that make war obsolete and work, even if the whole world doesn’t buy in, and, obviously, without forcing their buy in without conquest.

  102. The Bobs says:

    For Leif the idiot who keeps saying things like there is a correlation between volcanic eruptions and global warming, he should look at the following information: http://www.volcano.si.edu/faq/index.cfm?faq=06

    The page explains that any apparent raise in the number of volcanic eruptions is likely due to increased population and improved reporting and commucations. When large eruptions are plotted (see bottom of page) the result has a slope=0. Large eruptions are much less likely to be missed, for obvious reasons.

    No doubt you denialists will just bury your heads further in the sand.

  103. The Bobs says:

    The only known volcano that may have been the source of the 1809 eruption is this one: http://www.volcano.si.edu/world/volcano.cfm?vnum=0502-08=

  104. The Bobs (13:44:05) :
    For Leif the idiot who keeps saying things
    where should the comma or colon go? ;-)

  105. The Bobs says:

    Oh, wicked comeback Leif, where is your data? You don’t have any?

  106. The Bobs (20:25:12) :
    where is your data? You don’t have any?
    I think the general idea is that the very largest volcanic eruptions actually lead to a cooling of the weather for some years after.

  107. Back2Bat says:

    “I would be interested in hearing any proposals that make war obsolete and work, even if the whole world doesn’t buy in, and, obviously, without forcing their buy in without conquest.” TJA

    I think it is our duty to show the world what actual free market capitalism (FMC) and free trade can do. FMC has gotten a bad rap from the government backed banking cartel it is forced to do business with. Ron Paul knows the answer. Central banking caused WWII and is used to finance all others so abolish that and the world can peacefully get along. We are so close to world wide prosperity via technology. A huge amount of world misery is the result of the banking cartels.

    There are better ways to do banking than fractional reserve banking but competition must be allowed first.

    I don’t see why we cannot have peace but it will take fundamental reform of our current corrupt banking model. Otherwise, the same ole same ole.

  108. Sandy says:

    “A huge amount of world misery is the result of the banking cartels.”
    And all the worlds trade and prosperity!

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