Volcanoes Cause Climate Change

Guest post by Steven Goddard

Scientific American recently reported on the dodgy concept that climate change causes volcanoes, when in fact it is quite the opposite.

Wikipedia : An early 19th-century illustration of Krakatoa

In 1883, Krakatoa produced massive amounts of ash during an eruption estimated to the equivalent of 200 megatons – or 13 times larger than the Hydrogen Bomb detonated at Bikini Island.  Average global temperatures dropped by about 1.2°C during the following year as a result of  ash blocking the sun.

File:Sunda strait map v3.png

It has been hypothesized by a volcanologist at Los Alamos, that the Dark Ages were triggered by agricultural collapse following the 535AD eruption of Krakatoa.

Modern history has its origins in the tumultuous 6th and 7th centuries. During this period agricultural failures and the emergence of the plague contributed to: (1) the demise of ancient super cities, old Persia, Indonesian civilizations, the Nasca culture of South America, and southern Arabian civilizations; (2) the schism of the Roman Empire with the conception of many nation states and the re-birth of a united China; and (3) the origin and spread of Islam while Arian Christianity disappeared. In his book, Catastrophe An Investigation into the Origins of the Modern World, author David Keys explores history and archaeology to link all of these human upheavals to climate destabilization brought on by a natural catastrophe, with strong evidence from tree-ring and ice-core data that it occurred in 535 AD.

With no supporting evidence for an impact-related event, I worked with Keys to narrow down the possibilities for a volcanic eruption that could affect both hemispheres and bring about several decades of disrupted climate patterns, most notably colder and drier weather in Europe and Asia, where descriptions of months with diminished sun light, persistent cold, and anomalous summer snow falls are recorded in 6th-century written accounts. Writings from China and Indonesia describe rare atmospheric phenomena that possibly point to a volcano in the Indonesian arc. Although radiocarbon dating of eruptions in that part of the world are spotty, there is strong bathymetric and volcanic evidence that Krakatau might have experienced a huge caldera eruption. Accordingly, I encouraged a scientific expedition to be led by Haraldur Sigurdsson to the area.

The expedition found a thick pyroclastic deposit, bracketed by appropriate radiometric dates, that suggests such a caldera collapse of a Proto-Krakatau did occur perhaps in the 6th century. Bathymetry indicates a caldera some 40 to 60 km in diameter that, with collapse below sea level, could have formed the Sunda Straits, separating Java from Sumatra, as suggested by ancient Javanese historical writings. Such a caldera collapse likely involved eruption of several hundred cubic kilometers of pyroclastic debris, several times larger than the 1815 eruption of Tambora. This hypothetical eruption likely involved magma-seawater interaction, as past eruptions of Krakatau document, but on a tremendous scale. Computer simulations of the eruption indicate that the interaction could have produced a plume from 25 to >50 km high, carrying from 50 to 100 km3 of vaporized seawater into the atmosphere. Although most of the vapor condenses and falls out from low altitudes, still large quantities are lofted into the stratosphere, forming ice clouds with super fine (<10 micrometer) hydrovolcanic ash.

Discussions with global climate modelers at Los Alamos National Laboratory led me to preliminary calculations that such a plume of ash and ice crystals could form a significant cloud layer over much of the northern and southern hemispheres. Orders of magnitude larger than previously studied volcanic plumes, its dissipation and impact upon global albedo, the tropopause height, and stratospheric ozone are unknown but certainly within possibilities for climate destabilization lasting years or perhaps several decades. If this volcanic hypothesis is correct, the global, domino-like effects upon epidemics, agriculture, politics, economics, and religion are far-reaching, elevating the potential role of volcanism as a major climate control, and demonstrating the intimate link between human affairs and nature.

More recent volcanic events which lowered global temperatures, were the 1991 eruption of Mount Pinatubo and the 1983 eruption of El Chichón.

http://www.woodfortrees.org/graph/uah/from:1978/plot/rss/from:1978

http://www.woodfortrees.org/graph/uah/from:1978/plot/rss/from:1978

2002 study reported in Science demonstrated that feedback from water vapor in the atmosphere was largely responsible for the 1984 cooling.

Global Cooling After the Eruption of Mount Pinatubo: A Test of Climate Feedback by Water Vapor

Brian J. Soden,1* Richard T. Wetherald,1 Georgiy L. Stenchikov,2 Alan Robock2
The sensitivity of Earth’s climate to an external radiative forcing depends critically on the response of water vapor. We use the global cooling and drying of the atmosphere that was observed after the eruption of Mount Pinatubo to test model predictions of the climate feedback from water vapor. Here, we first highlight the success of the model in reproducing the observed drying after the volcanic eruption. Then, by comparing model simulations with and without water vapor feedback, we demonstrate the importance of the atmospheric drying in amplifying the temperature change and show that, without the strong positive feedback from water vapor, the model is unable to reproduce the observed cooling. These results provide quantitative evidence of the reliability of water vapor feedback in current climate models, which is crucial to their use for global warming projections.

The 1815 eruption of Mt. Tambora (the largest eruption in modern history) led to the Year Without a Summer in 1816.

Mount Tambora – Wikipedia

The explosion is estimated to have been at scale 7 on the Volcanic Explosivity Index.[17] It had roughly four times the energy of the 1883 Krakatoa eruption. An estimated 160 cubic kilometers (38 cubic miles) of pyroclastic trachyandesite was ejected, weighing approximately 1.4×1014 kg (see above).This has left a caldera measuring 6–7 km (3.7–4.3 mi) across and 600–700 m (2,000–2,300 ft) deep.[2] The density of fallen ash in Makassar was 636 kg/m².[18] Before the explosion, Mount Tambora was approximately 4,300 metres (14,100 ft) high,[2] one of the tallest peaks in the Indonesian archipelago. After the explosion, it now measures only 2,851 metres (9,354 ft).[19]

The 1815 Tambora eruption is the largest observed eruption in recorded history (see Table I, for comparison).[2][4] The explosion was heard 2,600 kilometres (1,600 mi) away, and ash fell at least 1,300 kilometres (810 mi) away.[2] Pitch darkness was observed as far away as 600 kilometres (370 mi) from the mountain summit for up to two days. Pyroclastic flows spread at least 20 kilometres (12 mi) from the summit.

Mt. St Helens erupted 30 years ago next month.  Like the Icelandic volcanoes, it was covered with thick ice and snow.

Mt. St. Helens prior to the eruption : Britannica Image

Meltwater from the ice and snow contacted the rising magma, leading to a huge amount of steam pressure and a massive explosion on May 18 following the collapse of the north flank.

I was involved in some experimental research around that time, which demonstrated that the amount of ash and the explosivity of volcanoes is primarily dependent on the amount of water which comes in contact with the magma underground.  It can be concluded that the glaciers in Iceland are contributing to the ash, not the other way around – and that volcanoes cause climate change, not the other way around.

Brian J. Soden,1* Richard T. Wetherald,1 Georgiy L. Stenchikov,2 Alan Robock2The sensitivity of Earth’s climate to an external radiative forcing depends critically on the response of water vapor. We use the global cooling and drying of the atmosphere that was observed after the eruption of Mount Pinatubo to test model predictions of the climate feedback from water vapor. Here, we first highlight the success of the model in reproducing the observed drying after the volcanic eruption. Then, by comparing model simulations with and without water vapor feedback, we demonstrate the importance of the atmospheric drying in amplifying the temperature change and show that, without the strong positive feedback from water vapor, the model is unable to reproduce the observed cooling. These results provide quantitative evidence of the reliability of water vapor feedback in current climate models, which is crucial to their use for global warming projections.


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179 Responses to Volcanoes Cause Climate Change

  1. JohnB says:

    The Daily Mail has a pretty interesting radar photo of 3 craters at the Eyiafjallajokull Volcano that is currently erupting.

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-1266403/Iceland-volcano-space-The-dramatic-ash-plume-engulfing-Britain-seen-above.html

    In particular, this photo of the 3 craters. http://i.dailymail.co.uk/i/pix/2010/04/16/article-1266403-0928E978000005DC-548_964x571.jpg

  2. Leon Brozyna says:

    That piece from Scientific American is a clear demonstration that climate change causes concept dyslexia, otherwise known as putting the cart before the horse.

    Let’s hope that the big one in Iceland doesn’t blow, else we’ll have more to worry about than some minor air traffic hiccups.

  3. Richard Telford says:

    Contrary to what Goddard has written, there is a clear link between climate and volcanism, at least on Quaternary time-scales. Loading or unloading of the lithosphere by sea-level changes or ice-sheet growth and melting can promote volcanism by altering the stress on magma chambers and conduits to the surface.

    See, for example, McGuire et al 1997. Correlation between rate of sea-level change and frequency of explosive volcanism in the Mediterranean. Nature 389, 473-476

  4. pat says:

    Dodgy? LOL. The idea is insane. Scientific American has become The Loony Scientist.
    There are other far more serious climatic events associated with volcanoes. it is now hypothesized the Permian Extinction might be one. A huge rift eruption. And scientists are relooking at the North American mammalian extinctions of 40,000 BP.

  5. Adam Gallon says:

    The catastrophic eruption of Mt St Helens on May 18th 1980 (Blimey, was it really that long ago??) has been attributed to an earthquake, causing the bulging north face to collapse and thus releasing pressure on the magma chamber.
    What all of these eruptions do show, is that it is cold that kills us, not a steadily warming enviroment!

  6. Dr A Burns says:

    “the importance of the atmospheric drying in amplifying the temperature change ”

    In other words, positive feedback caused by water vapour causes temperature falls to increase at an accelerating rate; when temperatures rise, positive feedback causes an accelerating rate of increase. Models have conclusively proven we have an unstable climate system. It is amazing how climate still exists.

  7. TallDave says:

    Does anyone have a list of things climate change doesn’t cause?

    It must be getting pretty short.

  8. u.k.(us) says:

    IMHO the reason Mt. St, Helens erupted so explosively, was the sudden collapse of the north flank of the volcano, which instantly depressurised the magma.

    I.E. you unscrew the the cap on a warm soda bottle SLOWLY, unless you want to be wearing it.

    I’ll bet the same thing happened at Tambora and Krakatoa.

  9. Mike says:

    I am not sure what your point is. The Sc Am article, taken from Reuters, merely pointed out that if certain Icelandic glaciers should melt – from whatever cause – this decrease in pressure could trigger volcanic activity. The potential for volcanic activity is obviously already present.

    http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=ice-cap-thaw-iceland-volcanoes

    That volcanoes can cause short term climate change is well known.

    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2006/05/current-volcanic-activity-and-climate/

    You claim “that volcanoes cause climate change, not the other way around” is only part true. Yes, volcanoes effect climate, but that is no way negates the observation in the Sc Am article. Lots of other things can cause seismic activity.

    http://www.nyx.net/~dcypser/induceq/ris.html

    http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=geothermal-drilling-earthquakes

    BTW, the Science article you cite confirms that general circulation models work pretty well. “These results provide quantitative evidence of the reliability of water vapor feedback in current climate models, which is crucial to their use for global warming projections.” http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/abstract/296/5568/727

  10. More recent volcanic events which lowered global temperatures, were the 1983 eruption of Mount Pinatubo and the 1992 eruption of El Chichón.

    The Pinatubo eruption was in June 1991 (I remember it because of a missed a plane from Philippine Airlines due to that event). El Chichon erupted in March/April 1982 according to several sources on the web.

  11. Arun says:

    Is this water vapor feedback described here meant to be distinct from cloud feedback, or not?

    Can we expect different magnitudes for different feedback mechanisms, resulting from volcano heat/aerosol forcing as compared to the slow heating by CO2?

  12. Al Gore's Holy Hologram says:

    Yes, the eruption of Krakatoa coincided with a darkening of European skies and regular sightings of yellow snowfall over China and Japan.

    As the Roman empire was converted to Christianity at this time, many thought that a day of judgement was near (they also thought this in the year 666 AD) and so anarchy broke out in pockets of the empire, which began to crumble and lose control over their Asian and North African holdings. This allowed the wealthy Arabs of Mecca and Medina to ally themselves with Nabatean Christians to conquer Roman territories under the pretext of freeing people from European rule. As the Arab conquests grew they had to stop calling themselves Christians to disassociate themselves with Europeans and rebranded themselves as Muslims along with creating an origin story for their new movement.

    It took a couple of centuries of this climate and political change for Europeans to realise the world was not ending and that they were instead being conquered. But by then the world had changed for the worst and we’re still fighting over this medieval meme a thousand years later.

  13. Peter Miller says:

    Steven

    Your comment:

    Then, by comparing model simulations with and without water vapor feedback, we demonstrate the importance of the atmospheric drying in amplifying the temperature change and show that, without the strong positive feedback from water vapor, the model is unable to reproduce the observed cooling. These results provide quantitative evidence of the reliability of water vapor feedback in current climate models, which is crucial to their use for global warming projections.

    Are you trying to say that at current temperatures water vapour acts as a temperature stabilising mechanism by radiating away heat? That seems to fly in the face of conventional physics.

    Jungles on the same latitudes as deserts have much more stable temperatures over any 24 hour period.

    Am I misunderstanding something?

  14. kadaka says:

    TallDave (13:54:57) :

    Does anyone have a list of things climate change doesn’t cause?

    It must be getting pretty short.

    1. Increases in Intelligence
    2. Increases in Common Sense
    3. Tax cuts

    That’s all I have. Anyone else?

  15. Joel Shore says:

    Dr A Burns says:

    In other words, positive feedback caused by water vapour causes temperature falls to increase at an accelerating rate; when temperatures rise, positive feedback causes an accelerating rate of increase. Models have conclusively proven we have an unstable climate system. It is amazing how climate still exists.

    No, the word is “amplify”. The water vapor roughly doubles the temperature change due to the forcing alone. It is not an instability. And, it is not the models saying this…It is the data. Or, to put it another way, the models only agree well with the empirical data when the feedback is included and not when it is “turned off” in the models.

  16. Jimbo says:

    The Eyjafjallajökull eruption in 1821 lasted 2 years. If it happens again it might cause a little climate change over Western Europe. :o)

  17. Jimbo says:

    The last time Iceland’s Eyjafjallajökull erupted in 1821 it lasted 2 years. If it happens again it might cause a little climate change over Western Europe. :o)

    http://icelandreview.com/icelandreview/daily_news/?cat_id=16567&ew_0_a_id=360723

  18. kadaka says:

    Apparently this concept was floated around before. From Nature, published online Sept 17 2009:

    Volcanoes stirred by climate change
    (…)
    But there is definitely some evidence that less ice means more dramatic eruptions. “As thick ice is getting thinner, there may be an increase in the explosivity of eruptions,” says Hugh Tuffen from Lancaster University, UK. Tuffen has spent time in many countries, including Iceland and Chile, studying volcanoes. The effects of climate change over the next 100 years will be different for different volcanoes, he says, and much more data are needed if we are to understand what those effects might be. But such data are not trivial to collect: volcanoes are isolated, dangerous places for field trips.

    Data deficiencies

    For example, in Iceland at the end of the last deglaciation period, about 11,000 years ago, there was a huge spike in volcanic activity that is now thought to be due to meltwater flooding the area. In Icelandic volcanoes, the ice provides a protective cap that, when removed, makes the magma below the surface decompress much faster than is already occurring through normal geological movement. The steady state that usually exists is lost, making eruptions faster and more explosive. There is not much delay between the climatic change and the volcanic eruption in these cases, says Tuffen.

    But in the Andes the volcanoes are different. They have magma chambers beneath them. As the ice melts, again the protective cap is lost. This also looks to have caused an increase in volcanic activity in the past, but because the magma chambers are up to 5 kilometres deep, it is unclear just how quickly volcanism increased after the thaw, says Sebastian Watt, who works with Pyle at Oxford University.
    (…)

    And this came out just before Copenhagen. Amazing timing it would have been too, if some brave whistle-blower hadn’t done the right thing…

  19. Richard Telford (13:35:15) :

    The large amount of ice loss at the end of the last ice age affected the timing of eruptions, because of the rapid unloading of pressure. However, the total amount of volcanism over time is controlled by the amount of energy being introduced from underneath (rising magma) minus the amount of heat dissipated through diffusion and fluid flow (in the case of eruptions.) Glaciers introduce no energy to the system.

    At the end of the last ice age, sea level was rising at about 1.5 meters per century, which is at least five times faster than at present.

    Recent ice loss has been much less. Heat flows very quickly out of 1200C rock near the surface. Without the constant introduction of new energy from the hot spot underneath Iceland, all volcanism would rapidly cease.

    You might want to read this quote from the Scientific American article:

    http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=ice-cap-thaw-iceland-volcanoes

    “We believe the reduction of ice has not been important in triggering this latest eruption,” he said of Eyjafjallajokull. “The eruption is happening under a relatively small ice cap.”

  20. u.k.(us) (13:55:03) :

    The timing of the eruption at Mt. St Helens was controlled by the collapse of the north face, but the mechanism was meltwater creating steam pressure.

    This guy is one of the leading experts on the subject of explosive vulcanism.

    http://www.ees1.lanl.gov/Wohletz/Publications.htm

    Worth reading his papers.

  21. uno2three4 says:

    The eruption dates for El Chichon and Pinatubo are reversed in post. I think Pinatubo was in 1991 also.

  22. Scarlet Pumpernickel says:

    The only time volcanoes really were affected by glaciers was towards the end of Snow Ball earth, when there was too much Ice, they came back with a vengeance?

  23. Scarlet Pumpernickel says:

    PS why doesn’t Mnt Kilimanjaro erupt? All that climate change I mean land clearing has made the glacier melt, so why is it dormant??????

  24. Scarlet Pumpernickel says:

    Here are some new front covers for our bringers of leading science!

  25. Richard Telford (13:35:15) :

    I thought some more about the article you linked.

    Of course there was an increase in explosive volcanic activity at the end of the last ice age. There was massive amounts of glacial melt water infiltrating into magma chambers, causing Mt. St. Helens style eruptions. I would say that the author came to the wrong conclusion about the cause.

    Nevertheless, the total amount of heat dissipated is controlled by the first law of thermodynamics. Over time, volcanoes can’t release any more energy than they receive from the mantle underneath.

  26. DCC says:

    “IMHO the reason Mt. St, Helens erupted so explosively, was the sudden collapse of the north flank of the volcano, which instantly depressurized the magma.”

    There is a difference between depressurization causing liquefaction, as hypothesized in the article, and unburdening. Collapse of the flank might well have triggered a magma flow, but the explosion was the result of magma causing steam when it came in contact with water. That was also true of the Indonesian volcanoes.

  27. Raven says:

    I see no reason to assume that the water vapour response to tonnes of volcanic ash would be the same as the water vapour response to more CO2.

    For example, rain drops require some sort of seed. An atomosphere with a lot of dust would have more seeds and could therefore be drier because the water forms into rain much faster.

    The automatic presumption that the response to different forcings would be the same is evidence of the tunnel vision that infests the climate science community.

  28. Jason everett says:

    This is mildly OT but I find extremely worrying.

    I’m in the UK and we are currently in an election period. I just posted a question on the BNP website. Now for those non UK residents on this site which are the majority, The BNP are widely viewed as a racist/facist site. I posted one message and was banned from the site. What question did I ask?

    Has anyone seen any ash from the Icelandic eruption or is this a test run on shutting down EU airspace.

    I know Anthony really dislikes ‘Nationalist/Racist’ organisations but this struck me as really strange. I think one of the moderators should post a similar question to various uk blog sites and see if you get banned.

    Getting scary.

    Don’t care if it’s snipped but follow it up please as this is very wrong.

    Best regards

  29. Peter Miller (14:04:57) :

    The quote you gave wasn’t mine, it was from this article.

    http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/abstract/296/5568/727

    What they are saying is that the volcano dried out the atmosphere, causing less of a greenhouse effect and further cooling. That is a positive feedback, which is what climate models predict for water vapor.

  30. Big Al says:

    An interesting note, Mt Pinatubo blew up in the middle of a typhoon . Was it low barometric pressure that triggered the explosion?
    Or maybe rainwater from the typhoon that did it.
    I’ve never heard a explanation for it.

  31. KimW says:

    The concept that melting of ice cover over a volcano causes an eruption, is stark staring raving insane. Just for a start, the thickness of material over any eruption vent is highly variable, yet eruptions happen. The scale of the forces involved in an eruption is so immense, that removal of a 100 metres or so of ice is utterly trivial. As for the 6th Century eruption of Krakatoa, it may well be as suggested, but there are a very large number of volcanoes on this planet.

    I used to be an avid reader of Scientific American, but gave up reading it as it began to concentrate on polemics rather than science.

  32. sam bailey says:

    Well.. I have been very interested in this.. now.. I think most reasonable minds.. would agree.. the link of tectonics(earthquakes..) and volcanism.. what is very important.. is the clustering of mega thrust quakes.. that seem to be more prevalent during slight spurts in solar activity.. during minimums.. or precedent to entry to a minimum.. bringing us full circle.. the sun.. inducing volcanic events.. now.. crrrrrazy yeah.. but….

  33. David says:

    If we assume an increase in volcanic activity over the next five years and have some major eruptions, and it cools down temperatures, should this be considered natural, and not an excuse for CAGW advocates?

    For over 15 years we have had little in the way of volcanic eruptions of a magnitude capable of affecting worldwide temperatures. The recent lack of volcanic eruptions, as well as future increasingly frequent and intense eruptions, are “natural” and can not be discounted by any antropogenic position.

    This will not stop pro CAGW advocates from making an excuse if temperatures drop, but that excuse will not be valid.

  34. Amino Acids in Meteorites says:

    Richard Telford (13:35:15) :

    You make the assumption the everything that happens in the earth is caused by co2. The paper you point out does not.

  35. Amino Acids in Meteorites says:

    from 2/22/10

    Joe Bastardi debates Bill Nye. They cover volcanoes for about 1/3 of the time. Bill Nye doesn’t seem to understand climate. Everything is co2 to him.

  36. Janice says:

    “An estimated 160 cubic kilometers (38 cubic miles) of pyroclastic trachyandesite was ejected, weighing approximately 1.4×1014 kg (see above)”

    I believe the weight is being expressed in scientific notation, but the ten to the fourteenth is showing as 1014. Perhaps it would be better to express it as 1.4E14.

  37. rbateman says:

    Scarlet Pumpernickel (14:41:55) :

    That’s a good question for vulcanologists. Half of the distribution of volcano eruptions is purely random. A majority of the rest like to cluster around Solar Minimum, and less than a majority around Solar Maximum.
    I’m not a math whiz to express the equation.
    Maybe someone has already been there, done that, and never came up with anything, or maybe nobody has seen fit to bother with it.

  38. Amino Acids in Meteorites says:

    MODERATOR ATTENTION

    it looks like uno2three4 is correct

    …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

    uno2three4 (14:38:37) :

    The eruption dates for El Chichon and Pinatubo are reversed in post. I think Pinatubo was in 1991 also.

    ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

    please fix the simple wording mistake in the post

  39. u.k.(us) says:

    stevengoddard (14:34:28) :

    u.k.(us) (13:55:03) :

    The timing of the eruption at Mt. St Helens was controlled by the collapse of the north face, but the mechanism was meltwater creating steam pressure.

    ===============
    Thanks for the video link, very cool!
    After watching it many times, i still say the eruption was due to the sudden release of the “cap”.
    What caused the landslide?
    I say the magma pushed the flank past it’s “tipping point”, which combined with some liquifaction?, and the known instability of volcanic structures, led to the sudden collapse and the uncontrolled expansion of the gases contained in the magma.
    Then pour cold water on it, eh!

    I was 18 when it happened, it still amazes me.

  40. Amino Acids in Meteorites says:

    More recent volcanic events which lowered global temperatures, were the 1983 eruption of Mount Pinatubo and the 1992 eruption of El Chichón.

    Should be

    More recent volcanic events which lowered global temperatures, were in 1983 from the April 1982 eruption of El Chichón and in 1992 from the 1991 eruption of Mount Pinatubo.

    El Chichón

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/El_Chich%C3%B3n

    Mount Pinatubo

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mount_Pinatubo#1991_awakening

  41. Lonnie Schubert says:

    Cold kills. Warmer is better.

  42. Interesting site blogging about the Iceland event… lots of links to photos and other aspects of this event. WUWT is highlighted on this thread…

    http://scienceblogs.com/eruptions/2010/04/a_quick_note_on_thawing_ice_ca.php#comments

  43. Fitzy says:

    Jason everett (14:52:49) :

    I think there is a precautionary principle at work, that does have some political gain, but you may be drawing a long bow here Jason.

    There may be some financial gain to shipping and ground transport, as distributors and travellors find other ways to get from A to B, but shutting down Europes air travel will probably cost incredible amounts of Euro’s. Not something the E.U wants, its bad for business and bad for a taxation.

    I would presume the Air Authorities are covering their backsides more than anything sinister, imagine being the guy who uneccessarily sent a jetliner to its doom, sobering thought.

  44. Pete says:

    OT but http://news.scotsman.com/scotland/Team-plans-to-row-to.6231705.jp

    Maybe next year won’t be such a good idea!

  45. pft says:

    There is a vast amount of energy contained by the mantle. The idea that climate change can precipitate the release of this energy via changes in surface loading (sea levels changes, ice loading changes, plates drifting, land masses rising/sinking) makes sense.

    However, to argue that climate change in the 20th century has been sufficient to trigger increased vulcanism seems dubious at best. Sea levels have been increasing since the last ice age (120 meters and rising) and glaciers have retreated from as far south as New York/Pennsylvania. Changes of this magnitude over thousands of years may or may not be affecting vulcanism today. Sea levels increasing 3 mm year for short periods seems insignificant by comparison.

    Our current period is of pretty low volcanic activity, despite the recent activity. We are due for another ice age. Perhaps the recent volcanic activity is a prelude of what is to come, perhaps not, but those aerosols in a period of low solar activity could make summer a bit cool.

    Upon entering an ice age, the reduction in sea levels may release methane hydrates which would slow the cooling. Increased vulcanism serves to slow warming and increase cooling. Both released stored carbon.

    Without vulcanism, our store of usable carbon on the surface would soon be depleted, and the carbon footprint would accelerate to zero. No carbon, no life, at least not as we know it. These climate cycles may be a necessary part of the carbon cycle.

  46. Hu Duck Xing says:

    Apologies to FZ.

  47. Hu Duck Xing says:

    Interesting! I guess the brackets took out the quote. I’ll try again;
    ‘But I said “Look here brother
    who you jiving with that pyroclastik debris?”‘

  48. Sam the Skeptic says:

    Jason Everett
    The BNP is making valiant (if probably futile) attempts to appear as a rational mainstream party during this campaign.
    This probably explains why it is unhappy with fruitcake comments about “shutting down EU airspace”. There are enough real problems around at the moment without conspiracy theorists inventing any more.

  49. nandheeswaran jothi says:

    sam bailey (15:10:59) :

    i don’t know if it is crazy. does anyone jnow of any study that counts serious volcanic eruption to solar minima/maxima?

  50. Aaron W. says:

    The earths temps should plummet once the La Nina arrives and the current ash in the atmosphere starts to reflect sunlight.

  51. stephan says:

    The current record low geomagnetic status of the sun is responsible for most of the tectonic changes currently occuring chile china iceland etc good luck

  52. jack morrow says:

    Steve Goddard
    Krakatoa’s little son is also dangerous along with the one in Iceland everyone is afraid that this latest one will set off.
    The poor folks caught up in this. I’m almost positive they are holding some flights that probably would be fine to takeoff. But, these are different times than when I flew as a commercial pilot.

  53. netdr says:

    I too doubt that this data verifies the positive feedback that the climate models use to amplify a trivial warming into a major problem.

    The clouds of ash acts as a seed to cause more rainfall which moves energy around the planet. CO2 induced warming would have o such seeds.

    Nice try though !

  54. Layne Blanchard says:

    Very interesting Steve.

  55. stephan says:

    It looks like the sun has also decided not to cooperate

    http://solarcycle24.com/

    at this rate solar maximum may reach ~50 confirming DA’s original prediction. He’s been wrong about temps but he should have waited at bit longer….there is probably a long lag effect

  56. Paul Brassey says:

    It’s silly to argue that the collapse of the north flank of St. Helens caused its explosive eruption. For several days the ground had been swelling, due to pressure from below, whether that was magma or some combination of magma and steam. There had also been a steady increase in earthquakes. This pressure and quaking caused the north flank to collapse, which collapse allowed the magma/steam to escape.

  57. Rob J Mitchell says:

    Vulcanism does increase when ice sheets dissappear. Of course at the current rate of ice loss greenland will take 5000 years to dissappear so not to much to worry about. Not to mention the obvious 4000 year cooling trend since since the holocene optimum.

  58. Xi Chin says:

    You guys should know by now that driving your car causes everything bad that ever happens. Tusnamis, Earthquakes, Volcanoes, Meteor Strikes, Sun Spots… all of these are caused by you driving your car. Only by increasing funding to “leading climate institutions” and quashing descent and denial will we combat the greatest threat the universe has ever known.

    Chocolate rations were increased today.

  59. Carsten Arnholm, Norway (13:57:31) :

    Thanks, I had the Pinatubo and El Chichon dates reversed.

  60. rbateman says:

    stephan (16:29:03) :

    The data for solar activity to vulcanism is tantalizing. It would also make for quite the topic.
    Might as well have a go at it, because the warmologists are not going to let up on AGW causes volcanoes.

  61. Rob J Mitchell (16:49:37) :

    Are you suggesting that the amount of energy coming up from the mantle is a function of the amount of ice on the surface? That is going to be a tough argument to make.

  62. Amino Acids in Meteorites says:

    Xi Chin (16:53:13) :

    I thought it was modern day conveniences that caused everything that is bad in the earth.

    ;-)

  63. Rob J Mitchell says:

    The water vapor positive feedback coment is a joke. The world doesn’t cool due to loss of water vapor. the world cools because atmospheric drying involves the formation of clouds that block off the energy supply. I have theory that high S02 volcanoes have a boom and bust effect, the SO2(which participates in cloud nuclei interations) intially causes cooling (and stratospheric warming) by increasing cloud, however this strips water vapor from the stratosphere which subsequently causes Stratospheric cooling. Through some mechanism (convective efficiency, jet streams, cloud nuclei from ice crystals?) the strotospheric temp controls the cloud albedo and hence the tropospheric temp. The increase in temp in the late 90s is clearly associated with a large 4% cloud decrease preceded by stratospheric cooling in the wake of the pinitubo eruption. It should also be noted that high steam-low SO2 volcanic events would produce the opposite effect, long term cooling by increase stratospheric temp due to increase H20. Multi decadal stratospheric temp regulation also overcomes the problem of short ocean response times, as the stratosphere is isolated by the tropopause.

  64. Ulric Lyons says:

    Climate change does cause volcanos, but on a scale most people would call weather.
    I have found a very clear link between temperature uplifts, and new volcanic activity.
    On this basis I have successfully been forecasting new eruption periods for the last 1.5 years.

    From the previous volcano thread;

    “The eruptions are primarily due to temerature differentials, as with all eruptions.
    A very cool month or so followed by a strong uplift in temperature is what triggers
    volcanic activity. Katla eruptions:

    http://www.volcano.si.edu/world/volcano.cfm?vnum=1702-03=&volpage=erupt

    July 1999, cold June followed by hot July.
    Late June 1955, very cool start to June, warms up at and of month.
    Oct. 1918, Cool September, turns warmer in October.
    May 1860, very cool Feb to April, then very warm May.
    Late June 1823, same pattern as 1955.

    It is hard to find many exceptions to this pattern of volacano eruptions occurring at a strong temperature uplift after a cold period, in the complete list of VEI 4+
    events globally; http://www.volcano.si.edu/world/largeeruptions.cfm

    Fears of Katla erupting this June; http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn18690-iceland-waits-for-volcanic-shoe-to-drop.html
    are most likely misplaced. My solar based temperature forecast for this May and June is generally above above average, so I do not see any strong temperature differentials occurring through these months.”

    I would add that I am forecasting a heat wave from around 12th June, this could promote some new activity, but temperatures prior to this period will be above average, so the differential will not be too severe.

  65. Johnny D says:

    So if one volcano’s emissions are sufficient to affect global climate, how can billions of cars’ and tens of thousands of power plants’ emissions not be sufficient?

  66. The mass of the oceans is about 1.3 × 10^21 kg

    The mass of the mantle is 4.3 x10^24 kg

    The mantle is nearly 4,000 times heavier than the oceans. Does anyone here seriously believe that a 0.03% change in the depth of oceans over the next century will have any meaningful effect on the energy flow, movement in the mantle, or plate tectonics? That is the argument people are making.

    Changes in ice thickness have no long term effect on the amount of vulcanism. While the ice is melting, water pouring down into the magma chamber can affect the type, amplitude and frequency of eruptions.

  67. kwik says:

    kadaka (14:23:05) :

    “And this came out just before Copenhagen. Amazing timing it would have been too, if some brave whistle-blower hadn’t done the right thing…”

    Yes, there were scary stories in Norwegian newspapers almost every day before Copenhagen.

    Just like the kind of psycological warfare operations governments would engage in, when at war.

  68. Steve Keohane says:

    Thanks Steven, a good article.
    It seems to me, if people knew more about human history, what people have experienced climate-wise, they would have a more realistic idea of what would be expected as ‘normal’. Mann’s hockey stick would never have been able to be marketed, let alone CAGW via CO2.

  69. Eric Gisin says:

    The glacier over this mountain is 800m thick, only 11% of Iceland is glaciers.

    Greenland’s ice sheet is up to 2km thick, covering most of the island. If it disappeared, land would rise several 100m and the island would become bigger.

    There is an order of magnitude difference. Were the Iceland glaciers retreating 150-100 years ago, before AGW?

  70. JohnD says:

    Isn’t it about time for the down wind, ash-path Greenies to demand Crimes Against Humanity charges against Iceland for spewing their resources at them?

    (Sorry, couldn’t resist a little bellows humor)

  71. Jim F says:

    rbateman (15:37:47) :

    I doubt there is any connection of volcanicity to any feature of solar activity, other than, potentially, tidal forces imposed on the earth. Volcanoes are driven by mantle processes and exist for long periods, hundreds of thousands to millions of years. There may be periodicities in the driving processes, but we don’t have the data to ferret them out.

    In earlier discussions, some were suggesting that the removal of an ice cap would significantly affect volcanic eruptions. Magma rises because it’s hot and so less dense than the overlying rocks. Ice has a density, say of 1 g/cc; the rocks overlying the magma could vary around 2.0 – 2.6 g/cc. Therefore a 4000 foot-thick glacier amounts to a pressure burden equivalent to ~1500 to 2000 feet of rock. That’s substantial, but consider that lava traveled more than 35,000 feet from the base to the top of Mauna Loa or M. Kea (and rather farther from the place where it originated). The pressure decrease attendant on melting ice has little effect on the movement and extrusion of lava.

    However, I believe that melting ice is the source of the explosiveness of this particular eruption. Icelandic volcanoes typically (like 95%+) extrude one or more forms of basalt, lavas containing no free quartz and so very fluid as lavas go. The basalts also are “anhydrous” containing little or no water. Thus they tend to erupt quietly, with minimal explosive action. If some water gets in the mix, then steam explosions can occur. The basalt is coming out at a temperature of ~1000-1300 degrees C. That will superheat steam in a hurry.

    And these kinds of explosions can happen underwater. A good source is this article and pictures and video of a volcanic eruption 4000 feet below sea level. There are limited explosions aplenty. Nothing like this ongoing surficial eruption, however. (Here the source of the gas may be the lava, a primitive andesitic magma termed “boninite” for its type locale in the Bonin Islands).

    http://geology.com/press-release/west-mata-volcano/

    Enjoy!

  72. pwl says:

    What do you make of this graph labeled “Planes or Volcano? What’s emitting the most CO2 per day?”

    http://ztzg.posterous.com/planes-or-volcano-16

  73. Robert Burns says:

    Slightly OT, but there is an opportunity to check whether thermometers at air ports give higher or lower readings than the near by thermometers. With most of the European airports now shut down, the temps at the airports can be compared to surrounding weather stations to see if the heat from the planes has an impact. Still stuck with the measurement effect of the tarmac.

  74. Paul Brassey (16:48:32) :

    The images of mount St. Helen’s erupting show a huge plume of steam mixed with some ash.

    It is safe to assume that the explosion was due to the release of steam pressure. Liquids like magma have very low compressibility and can not store much mechanical energy.

  75. Rob J Mitchell (17:11:41) :

    One of the main reasons that Antarctica is so cold is because there is almost no water vapour in the atmosphere. Thus a lot of LW radiation escapes without warming the atmosphere over Antarctica.

  76. Les Francis says:

    Country with most active volcanos? – Indonesia.
    Not many glaciers there – although I have seen some ice fields on some mountains in West Papua.
    Last super volcano? – Toba 75,000 years BPE. Toba sits in the middle of North Sumatra Island – Indonesia. Toba dropped up to six feet of ash over parts on India. Toba is also thought to have caused a bottleneck in human population (Ambrose).
    If Krakatoa were to erupt with the similar VE as 1883 the local consequences woul d be dire. Millions now live in the same areas where in 1883 thousands lived.
    Vulcanologist Mike Rampino has studied Krakatoa quite extensively. Rent a disaster quote Bill McGuire was seen in the company of a film crew at Tanjung Karang /Telok Betung / Bandar Lampung who were making a documentary re Krakatoa.

  77. David says:

    Anyone?

    If we assume an increase in volcanic activity over the next several years and have some major eruptions which cool down temperatures, should this be considered natural and not an excuse for CAGW advocates?

  78. pat says:

    “Mr Tishkov, deputy head of the Geography Institute at Russian Academy of Science, said: ‘What we have been watching recently is comparatively fast changes of climate to warming, but within the framework of an overall long-term period of cooling. This is a proven scientific fact.

    ‘The recent warming – and we are talking tenths of a degree at most – is caused by human activity, like forest elimination, the changing of landscapes.

    ‘The greenhouse gases so much discussed now do not in fact play big role. We have to remember that all the impact of industrial enterprises in Russia cannot be compared with one volcano eruption on our planet.’ ”

    Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/worldnews/article-1260132/Russian-weatherman-strikes-blow-climate-change-lobby-announcing-winter-Siberia-coldest-record.html#ixzz0lVH2MHVu
    A repost, but a relevant one.

  79. DocMartyn says:

    ” Leon Brozyna (13:35:14) :

    That piece from Scientific American is a clear demonstration that climate change causes concept dyslexia”

    Leon, those of us with dyslexia take a lot of crap anyway, so don’t add to it.

  80. Les Francis (17:53:27) :

    Indonesian volcanoes get their source of water from nearby subduction zones that drag seawater down with melting oceanic crust. As the magma rises, it already has a high water content. What appears on the surface is a semi-liquid mixture of basalt, granite and water which is called andesite.

  81. Phil Hays says:

    “In other words, positive feedback caused by water vapour causes temperature falls to increase at an accelerating rate; when temperatures rise, positive feedback causes an accelerating rate of increase. Models have conclusively proven we have an unstable climate system. It is amazing how climate still exists.”

    Positive feedback does not mean unstable. Loop gains between 0 (no feedback) and +1 are stable.

  82. Ian H says:

    A volcanic event is going to influence cloud formation in a qualitatively different way to adding CO_2 to the atmosphere. The volcanic dust acts directly as nuclei seeding cloud formation in addition to any effect caused by upper atmosphere cooling, while CO_2 does not influence cloud formation in this direct manner. Because volcanic events influence climate via an additional mechanism I’d be very cautious about a study that claims to use the observed cooling due to a volcanic event to validate the imputed warming due to CO_2. The cloud seeding effect is a significant one, not a minor correction, and cannot be ignored.

    I have not read the paper, but if it failed to correct for this extra direct effect of volcanic ash on cloud formation then I’d say the results actually prove that the amount of feedback in the CO_2 models is significantly overestimated. That is because the predicted cooling due to positive feedback alone would then have accounted for the observed cooling due to both positive feedback and cloud nucleation effects.

  83. hotrod ( Larry L ) says:

    Robert Burns (17:37:59) :

    Slightly OT, but there is an opportunity to check whether thermometers at air ports give higher or lower readings than the near by thermometers. With most of the European airports now shut down, the temps at the airports can be compared to surrounding weather stations to see if the heat from the planes has an impact. Still stuck with the measurement effect of the tarmac.

    Good point it would be interesting to see if the Delta T between the core city thermometers and the airfield thermometers suddenly went down while all the planes were grounded. The volcanic ash and cloudiness would also mute the effects of the differences between tarmac and grass with regard to solar heating during the day.

    Might be a very interesting data analysis.
    Larry

  84. Ric Werme says:

    Big Al (15:03:07) :

    An interesting note, Mt Pinatubo blew up in the middle of a typhoon . Was it low barometric pressure that triggered the explosion?
    Or maybe rainwater from the typhoon that did it.
    I’ve never heard a explanation for it.

    I saw video of what I recall as the main eruption of Mt Pinatubo, and it wasn’t raining at the time. Perhaps you’re thinking of Montserrat in the Carribean which did erupt during a tropical storm. There are enough tropical storms there and Montserrat has erupted enough that eruption and quake were bound to coincide one of these days.

    I haven’t checked the facts, but I’m pretty confident of the Montserrat eruption.

  85. Paul Vaughan says:

    “[...] the dodgy concept that climate change causes volcanoes, when in fact it is quite the opposite.” / “It can be concluded that [...] volcanoes cause climate change, not the other way around.”

    The coupling seems to run both ways – and on different timescales.

    See the notes I’ve been adding here:

    http://www.sfu.ca/~plv/VolcanoStratosphereSLAM.htm

    Note particularly the results involving the Southern Ocean, the Southeast Pacific, ENSO, & the lunisolar harmonic spectrum.

    I’ve added the following today (April 17, 2010):

    Compare with this:

    These insights raise some pretty serious questions – about several things.

  86. Ian H says:

    @ Les Francis :

    Last super volcano? – Toba 75,000 years BPE. Toba sits in the middle of North Sumatra Island – Indonesia. Toba dropped up to six feet of ash over parts on India. Toba is also thought to have caused a bottleneck in human population (Ambrose).

    The last supervolcano was Taupo in New Zealand, just over 2000 years ago. New Zealand was fortunately unpopulated at the time as the eruption significantly pasted most of the North Island.

  87. F. Ross says:

    kadaka (14:09:44) :

    TallDave (13:54:57) :

    Does anyone have a list of things climate change doesn’t cause?

    It must be getting pretty short.

    1. Increases in Intelligence
    2. Increases in Common Sense
    3. Tax cuts

    That’s all I have. Anyone else?

    May I submit:
    4.(?) Honesty in politicians.

  88. Enneagram says:

    What about this?:

    A volcano could be the result of underground “lightning.” Peratt and Dessler favorably compared the “volcano” Prometheus on Jupiter’s moon Io to the plume of a plasma focus device. The contours of the plume indicated that the center of discharge was about two kilometers below the surface….Are ideas of Earth’s “liquid core” and “magic mantle” simply artifacts of outdated premises? Are the mechanical deep layers of the Earth instead electrical double layers that convert pressure and displacement waves into electrical waves and back again? Do the “quake signals” that supposedly delineate magma chambers actually indicate coronal discharges around an underground plasma focus?

    http://www.thunderbolts.info/tpod/2009/arch09/090408volcanoes.htm

  89. Enneagram says:

    Enneagram (18:37:00) : An image worths a thousand words: Chilean Chaiten Volcano eruption:

  90. rbateman says:

    Jim F (17:28:43) :

    Have you examined the relationship between Solar Cycle Minima/Maxima and volcanic activity?

  91. Les Francis says:

    Lets look at scale.

    To cause some global cooling a volcano need to get some aerosols high into the stratosphere where they will linger and disperse over a large area for a period of time.

    St.Helens erupted around a cubic kilometer of debris laterally – i.e. sideways up to 26 miles away from the vent. Not up into the stratosphere.

    Pinatubo 1992 erupted up 4 cu kilometers of debris into the stratosphere. Effect of a little cooling.

    El Chincon and Galunggang 1982 around 2 cu kilometers of debris into the stratosphere.

    Krakatoa 1881 around 20cu kilometers ejected – estimated 1.2 degrees celsius of global cooling. Global weather not bnack to considered normal until 1888.

    Tambora 1815 100 cu kilometers of debris into the stratosphere – year without summer.

    Toba 74,000BPE 800CU kilometers of debris into the stratosphere – super volcano – mini extermination event?

  92. R. Gates says:

    Richard Telford said (13:35:15) :
    Contrary to what Goddard has written, there is a clear link between climate and volcanism, at least on Quaternary time-scales. Loading or unloading of the lithosphere by sea-level changes or ice-sheet growth and melting can promote volcanism by altering the stress on magma chambers and conduits to the surface.

    See, for example, McGuire et al 1997. Correlation between rate of sea-level change and frequency of explosive volcanism in the Mediterranean. Nature 389, 473-476

    ———–

    Thanks for that link. The point to be taken away from this is that there is much interaction between earth systems, and that causes can become effects and visa-versa. Undoubtedly volcanoes can cause cooling (and warming), and likewise, the isostatic rebound when glaciers melt can also cause an increase in volcanism….see for example:

    http://www.springerlink.com/content/ng8276u453114154/

    In general isostatic rebound is not well understood, but evidence for its effects are broad.

  93. Enneagram says:

    Another from the Redoubt volcano (Alaska ):

  94. Enneagram (18:42:43) :

    That image is interesting. The heat and water vapor coming out of volcanoes often creates thunderstorms. Particulates mixed in with the clouds also produce a lot of static charge as they rub up against other particles.

  95. u.k.(us) says:

    stevengoddard (17:45:59) :
    “It is safe to assume that the explosion was due to the release of steam pressure. Liquids like magma have very low compressibility and can not store much mechanical energy.”
    ===================
    With all due respect Steven, the video is an example of energy in motion. One of the few we have.
    The mountain is flowing, as if, it was a liquid.
    No models needed.
    IMHO

  96. TimJ says:

    David Keys “Catastrophe” is mentioned in the article above. I read this in the 1990’s and thought that it was common knowledge that Krakatau was the start of the Dark Ages and the demise of the then current civilizations. Key’s book put his theories of how it all played out.

    This type of event will happen from time to time. A blast of solar energy wiping out the satellites and power distribution networks will have the same effect. Just a matter of when.

    Business as usual. Pass along, ‘Nothing to see her’. As seems to be the current colloquial phrase………

  97. rbateman says:

    R. Gates (18:49:51) :

    For that matter, anything that loads/unloads pressure on rock causes it to fracture. Ice Sheets 2 miles thick is a lot of weight.
    Every miner knows that when timber or support is removed from the back, the rock will soon fall.

  98. R. Gates (18:49:51) :

    I’m still baffled by ongoing claims that loss of glaciers causes more magma to form. Glaciers or the lack thereof are not a source of heat.

    The loss of glaciers (like many other events) may cause a temporary increase in eruptions, which would necessarily be followed by a decrease – to regain the long-term equilibrium. That indeed seems to be what the paper you referenced is saying, that the last 2900 years have seen little volcanism.

    Over long periods of time, glaciers have little or no net effect on the amount of energy coming up from the mantle.

    The visible and implied evidence indicates that lava production in the period 10 000–4500 bp was at least 20 to 30 times higher than that in the period after 2900

  99. CRS, Dr.P.H. says:

    stevengoddard (17:16:57) :
    The mass of the oceans is about 1.3 × 10^21 kg

    The mass of the mantle is 4.3 x10^24 kg

    The mantle is nearly 4,000 times heavier than the oceans. Does anyone here seriously believe that a 0.03% change in the depth of oceans over the next century will have any meaningful effect on the energy flow, movement in the mantle, or plate tectonics? That is the argument people are making.

    Changes in ice thickness have no long term effect on the amount of vulcanism. While the ice is melting, water pouring down into the magma chamber can affect the type, amplitude and frequency of eruptions.
    ——-
    REPLY: Thank you, Steven, that would seem to be the correct analysis.

    This link discusses a deep water volcano, 3 miles beneath the surface of the Caribbean:

    http://www.cnn.com/2010/TECH/science/04/13/undersea.volcanic.vents/index.html

    hmmm, that’s about 7000 psi down there. A bit more than a modest glacier would produce, I’d reckon.

    Very interesting post, thanks!

  100. P Wilson says:

    pat (13:45:42) :

    and generally to all others: Here is a series of scientific facts

    smoke causes fire,
    drinking causes thirst
    heat causes freeze
    cold causes sunstroke
    antlers cause deer to fly.
    elephants don’t fly as they are too light and probably wouldn’t land again

  101. The Most Casual Observer says:

    kadaka (14:23:05) : “… protective ice cap.”

    Debbie Reynonds in the movie “Mother” was the 1st to note the protective nature of ice in orange serbert where it had formed a frosty layer over the top. Albert Brook’s assessment of how effecitive it was, “It tastes like an orange foot!”

  102. Smokey says:

    Volcanoes causing global warming and cooling and exploding thru the ice pale into insignificance because… today is World Moon Bounce Day, and nobody told me!

    http://echoesofapollo.com/moon-bounce

  103. Patrick Davis says:

    “Ian H (18:34:42) :

    The last supervolcano was Taupo in New Zealand, just over 2000 years ago. New Zealand was fortunately unpopulated at the time as the eruption significantly pasted most of the North Island.”

    Which was so large that that volcano then is now a lake, the volcano is submerged and the lake levels are constantly monitored. I have a picture of the compressed ash layer from this eruption which I took while living in NZ. I’ll have to see if I can find it.

    I used to work for a company that maintained and monitored the system that was used to detect lahars from Mt Ruapehu. It’s funny really because the system was so unreliable, running under Windows NT4, it was constantly down, “BSoD”, and not doing a lot.

  104. Kum Dollison says:

    What were European/N. American temperatures like in 1821 – 1824 time framne?

  105. rbateman says:

    stevengoddard (19:02:57) :

    Thank you for that. There has to be magma present in order for pressure/release to result in a volcanic eruption.

  106. u.k.(us) (18:54:34) :

    The mountain is flowing, because it is liquefied by meltwater from above and steam from below. Also because the rising magma made the slope steeper. The magma and steam is the cause of the explosion and the liquefaction of the ground.

  107. rbateman (19:00:44) :

    We aren’t talking about 2 miles of rock. We are talking about changes of a few meters of ice on an island with 500m peak thickness. This is what the author of the paper said:

    “We believe the reduction of ice has not been important in triggering this latest eruption,” he said of Eyjafjallajokull. “The eruption is happening under a relatively small ice cap.”

  108. pat says:

    Frankly, i do not believe ice encapsulates volcanic action under the ground surface in any way. Nor do I believe the ice weight accounts for much. Like Oceanic eruptions, which are generally invisible in the surface in depths of 300M, the magma is doing its mischief under the ice and out of site. The ice is meaningless in the grand scheme of the earth’s vulcanism and tectonic movement. After moving through 60 miles of hard rock, a few thousand meters of ice is hardly a show stopper. Not any more than the 12,000 feet of water that is over the Hawaii hot spot (which may move up magma from a far deeper depth. As we may be seeing in the Antarctic peninsula, the lava is flowing under the ice.

  109. Amino Acids in Meteorites says:

    Mike (13:57:16) :

    You claim “that volcanoes cause climate change, not the other way around” is only part true.

    …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

    You say climate change is sure to cause volcanic activity then you point to the Scientific American article that uses the word “may”. And you use the word “could”. You think the words “may” and “could” are observations.

    There is real observation in relation to volcanoes changing climate.

    Observations do not come from the words “may” and “could”. You may not understand what observation of data is. “May” and “could” are not proof of anything. They are only opinions.

  110. It appears that Katla might be entering into the equation…

    http://en.vedur.is/earthquakes-and-volcanism/earthquakes/

    and a 10 minute chart for the last few weeks…

    http://hraun.vedur.is/ja/Katla2009/gosplott.html

  111. Spector says:

    RE: Les Francis (17:53:27) : “…Last super volcano? – Toba 75,000 years BPE. Toba sits in the middle of North Sumatra Island – Indonesia. Toba dropped up to six feet of ash over parts on India. Toba is also thought to have caused a bottleneck in human population (Ambrose).”

    An alternative to the human population ‘bottleneck theory’ is the possibility that modern humans evolved rapidly as a very small isolated population who, at that time, were trapped in a remote and challenging environment. To disprove this speculation, one need only show that fully modern humans were widespread before the Toba event. Perhaps, one day, science will identify the location of this ancient Eden.

    In regard to global warming induced volcanism, I believe that eruption cycles are largely determined by the rate a given magma chamber becomes less dense from the progressive net infusion of dissolved gases released deep within the earth. It seems reasonable that changes in the surface loading may advance or delay an impending eruption, but I believe the primary driver controlling these events is still subterranean.

  112. Joel Shore says:

    Ian H says:

    A volcanic event is going to influence cloud formation in a qualitatively different way to adding CO_2 to the atmosphere. The volcanic dust acts directly as nuclei seeding cloud formation in addition to any effect caused by upper atmosphere cooling, while CO_2 does not influence cloud formation in this direct manner.

    The thing about these particles in the troposphere is that they have a short residence time…i.e., they rain out pretty quickly. This is why it is only the volcanic eruptions that are powerful enough to send a significant amount of matter into the stratosphere (where it has a much larger residence time) that tend to have a significant climate effect. So, any significant seeding effect of the kind you are talking about is likely to be too short-lived to have a significant climatic effect.

    In fact, a major reason that there is so much uncertainty regarding the radiative forcing due to aerosols is because of their complicated effects on clouds. And, I used to wonder how it was possible to use the Mt. Pinatubo eruption to conclude anything about climate sensitivity, given this uncertainty, until I understood the important distinction between the aerosols in the troposphere and those injected into the stratosphere.

  113. Kum Dollison says:

    Does anyone know where I can find some information on N. American/European temperatures the last time this happened? In 1821

  114. maksimovich says:

    Joel Shore (21:22:25) :

    The thing about these particles in the troposphere is that they have a short residence time…i.e., they rain out pretty quickly. This is why it is only the volcanic eruptions that are powerful enough to send a significant amount of matter into the stratosphere (where it has a much larger residence time) that tend to have a significant climate effect. So, any significant seeding effect of the kind you are talking about is likely to be too short-lived to have a significant climatic effect.

    Nature in her infinite wisdom decrees that opportunity should not be wasted,eg Langmann et al 2010

    Volcanic ash as fertiliser for the surface ocean

    Abstract
    Iron is a key limiting micro-nutrient for marine primary productivity. It can be supplied to the ocean by atmospheric dust deposition. Volcanic ash deposition into the ocean represents another external and so far largely neglected source of iron. This study demonstrates strong evidence for natural fertilisation in the iron-limited oceanic area of the NE Pacific, induced by volcanic ash from the eruption of Kasatochi volcano in
    August 2008. Atmospheric and oceanic conditions were favourable to generate a massive phytoplankton bloom in the NE Pacific Ocean which for the first time establishes a causal connection between oceanic iron-fertilisation and volcanic ash supply.

    http://www.atmos-chem-phys-discuss.net/10/711/2010/acpd-10-711-2010-print.pdf

    This brings three concomitant mechanisms into play,surface albedo,cloud nucleation due to dsmp, and co2 drawdown (from a biological POV),

    The is visible in the airborne fraction ,eg Gloor et al 2010

  115. Ian H says:

    @ Joel Shore (21:22:25) :

    The thing about these particles in the troposphere is that they have a short residence time…i.e., they rain out pretty quickly. This is why it is only the volcanic eruptions that are powerful enough to send a significant amount of matter into the stratosphere (where it has a much larger residence time) that tend to have a significant climate effect. So, any significant seeding effect of the kind you are talking about is likely to be too short-lived to have a significant climatic effect.

    I completely disagree.

    I agree that the material does not linger long in the troposphere because it rains out (seeds clouds). It lingers for a lot longer in the stratosphere, but you didn’t think it stayed up there forever did you? It eventually drifts down into the troposphere where it seeds clouds. So long as there is material in the stratosphere there is a continual steady flux of cloud seeding material into the troposphere lowering the barrier to cloud formation.

    I think you were trying to argue that the cloud seeding effect is merely transitory while the radiative shielding effect is long lived. However the two phenomena cannot be separated in this way. If you’ve got enough material in the stratosphere to cause radiative shielding you’ve got a sufficient flux of cloud seeding materials into the troposphere to cause widespread cloud seeding effects.

    Note that cloud seeding effects do not require large amounts of material. So little is required to have a measurable effect that you can feasibly carry stuff up in a plane and seed clouds artificially.

  116. Amino Acids in Meteorites says:

    Enneagram (18:42:43) :

    That photo is worth more than a thousand words!

  117. fhsiv says:

    stevengoddard (19:53:28) :

    You said: “The mountain is flowing, because it is liquefied by meltwater from above and steam from below. Also because the rising magma made the slope steeper. The magma and steam is the cause of the explosion and the liquefaction of the ground.”

    You’re close! But I think a better way to describe what caused the initiation of the eruption at Mt. St. Helens is in terms of slope stabilty rather than liquefaction.

    The high and steep slopes of the pre-eruption volcano were likely only marginally stable. As new magma was injected from below, a blister effect caused one side of the mountain to bulge and steepen even further. This slope configuration remained stable only under static conditions. However, when a pre-eruption earthquake associated with continuing magma movement generated seismic forces just large enough to temporarily exceed the strength of the forces resisting sliding, the slope became unstable. The result was a large scale landslide.

    As the slide moved, the overburden pressure on a portion of the magma chamber was lowered just enough to allow the dissolved volatile constituents (H2O, CO2, Cl2,SO2,etc) in the nearest-to-the-surface magma to become unstable. The unstable volatiles immediately changed to the gaseous phase with an accompanying explosive volumetric increase and began a chain reaction which drove the eruption.

    No meteoric water (meaning water derived from the earth’s atmosphere) was needed to drive the explosive eruption of the viscous, volatile rich, rhyolitic magma. However, infiltrating meteoric waters in the form of rainfall or melting snow likely contributed the slope instability which lead to the eruption-causing landslide. Steam and gas emissions from solidifying magma may have also contributed to pore pressure increases which increased slope instability.

  118. Jim F says:

    @rbateman (18:46:57) :

    “…Jim F (17:28:43) :

    Have you examined the relationship between Solar Cycle Minima/Maxima and volcanic activity?…”

    No, I’ll leave it to you to do the research and present the findings here. In my experience, volcanoes are things that exist and work over long periods of time. What solar phenomenon other than its gravitational field could speed, slow or otherwise influence the crustal or mantle processes involved in generating and feeding one of these fascinating geologic creations? Beats me.

  119. Amino Acids in Meteorites says:

    Steven Goddard provided evidence of H2O’s presence in Mount St. Helens eruption. And there is some more evidence in this 44 minute documentary on Mount St. Helens. It is from 17:00 to 19:11 of the video.

    How the Earth was made – Mount St. Helens

    http://www.123video.nl/playvideos.asp?MovieID=684219

  120. Amino Acids in Meteorites says:

    maksimovich (22:43:57) :

    Volcanic ash can also used for human nutrition.

  121. Invariant says:

    Aaron W. (16:23:31) : The earths temps should plummet once the La Nina arrives and th;e current ash in the atmosphere starts to reflect sunlight.

    Right! This decade may be influenced by:

    1. transition from positive to negative PDO, AO and NAO
    2. transition from El Nino to La Nina
    3. transition from strong to weak solar cycles
    4. transition from silent to violent volcanos

    Still, for temperature, we know the AGW message, The Only Way Is Up!

  122. Atomic Hairdryer says:

    Re: Mike (13:57:16) :

    You claim “that volcanoes cause climate change, not the other way around” is only part true. Yes, volcanoes effect climate, but that is no way negates the observation in the Sc Am article. Lots of other things can cause seismic activity.

    Like harmonic tremors or low frequency vibrations? I’ve actually observed this one in a coffee cup from a mid-sized earth trembler located about 800m from an office I was working in. The vibrator in question was a solitary Enercon E-70 wind turbine. If there had been multiple vibrators, it may have made for more interesting patterns in my coffee cup. It may also help explain why some of the UK’s off-shore wind turbines are subsiding, and it may be interesting to observe the large planned wind farm on the Dogger Bank, epicentre of the UK’s largest recorded earthquake. We’ll have to wait and see there.

    Rest is perhaps a nice demonstration of climate forcings. There’s the downward pressure from the ice vs the upward pressure from the magma. It seems pretty obvious to me that the upward pressure is greater. Post normal science though seems to assign greater forcings to the melting ice than the normal forcings of being in an interglacial where we’d be expecting ice to melt and glaciers to retreat. The upward forcings still seem far greater to me than any minor differences in ice mass from man-made melting.

  123. The ghost of Big Jim Cooley says:

    Just wanted to bounce something… DO JET AIRLINERS CAUSE CLOUDS?

    Here in the UK (because we’re a small island) we rarely have completely cloudless skies. We get a few, but usually wisps of cloud form and disappear. Well, not for the past three days now. We’ve have had completely cloudless skies for three and a half days where I live. Now that happens to coincide with three days of NO airliners flying. Is it coincidence? Do airliner’s engines seed clouds? For me, the idea of coincidence is too much. The only time we can get three completely cloudless days is in mid summer, but we’re into our showery month here.

  124. Tony Hansen says:

    Steven Goddard
    Please note

    uno2three4 (14:38:37) :
    ‘The eruption dates for El Chichon and Pinatubo are reversed in post. I think Pinatubo was in 1991 also’.

    (Directly above your first graph)

    [Fixed. ~dbs]

  125. kadaka says:

    Re:

    Enneagram (18:42:43) :

    Enneagram (18:37:00) : An image worths a thousand words: Chilean Chaiten Volcano eruption:

    and

    Amino Acids in Meteorites (23:31:11) :

    Enneagram (18:42:43) :

    That photo is worth more than a thousand words!

    Indeed, that is a very important photo!

    It’s on the top of the pages at E.M. Smith’s site, Musings from the Chiefio.

    Thanks, I’ve been wondering where it came from.

  126. David A says:

    Anyone?

    If we assume an increase in volcanic activity over the next several years and have some major eruptions which cool down temperatures, should this be considered natural and not an excuse for CAGW advocates?

  127. Ammonite says:

    I heard a friend mention the Precession of the Equinoxes. What evidence does this bear on vulcanism and possible combined solar effects on our little planet I wonder? I would be most interested in some responses.

  128. Patrick Davis says:

    “The ghost of Big Jim Cooley (02:50:25) :

    Just wanted to bounce something… DO JET AIRLINERS CAUSE CLOUDS?”

    Not sure. But contrains from aircraft, apparently, do have some reflective properties similar to clouds.

    Do like Richard Branson does; fight global warming, fly more!

  129. ArndB says:

    A text extract concerning Krakatoa written 1992:
    The oceans play a decisive role on how a volcanic eruption effects weather and climate. A significant aspect of Krakatoa was: “The hazy fog appears as a constant companion of the extraordinary optical phenomena in the atmosphere during the entire period of the atmospheric-optical disturbance”. Although it was quickly determined that the amount of solar energy received was clearly reduced for a period of several years, little attention was paid to the development of the atmospheric temperature. The blockage must have fluctuated strongly and have varied greatly, depending on the observation point. In total, the blockage effect has been calculated at an average of approximately 10% over a span of four years, whereby the reduction of solar energy in the northern hemisphere (Paris) was at its greatest in fall of 1885, reaching a value of 25%. It would seem that a reduction of solar radiation of such proportions would necessarily have a long-lasting effect on atmospheric dynamics. But supposedly the average temperatures fell only slightly and the atmospheric circulation in 1884 was above normal and did not sink to a strongly developed minimum until 1888. One could say – speaking non-technically – that Nature had “popped a lid over it” and so protected the oceans from cooling off too quickly. The lid consisted of ingredients provided by Krakatoa and water vapour provided by the ocean. As a result of the “dirtying” of the atmosphere by the volcano’s eruption, the atmosphere displayed characteristics and behaviour deviating from the norm.
    More at: Chapter “2. Krakatoa – A Climatic Once-in-a-Century Event?” at http://www.whatisclimate.com/conditions-for-the-protection-of-the-global-climate.html

  130. fhsiv (23:34:05) :

    I don’t think there is much question that the soil liquefaction on Mt. St. Helens was primarily due to the large amount of mud (liquefied soil) which accumulated there, as the heavy snow/ice pack melted in the weeks prior to the eruption.

    The top of the volcano averaged well over 100 inches of precipitation a year, almost all as snow. Here is a good page with references to Mt. St. Helens mudflows and Lahars.

    http://vulcan.wr.usgs.gov/Volcanoes/MSH/Lahars/framework.html

    http://www.angelfire.com/pa3/facts/

    Rocks, dirt, and debris, combined with melting snow, ice blocks, and water formed volcanic mudflows that traveled eighty miles per hour and were two hundred and eleven degrees Fahrenheit. They entered the Toutle River and caused thirty-three feet high waves that traveled twelve miles, washing out logging camps, bridges, and houses.

  131. Here is a good link discussing cloud formation from jet contrails

    http://www.wrh.noaa.gov/fgz/science/contrail.php?wfo=fgz

    If contrails persist for a long enough period of time, say on the order of an hour or more, they can spread out across the sky due to the prevailing winds at the level at which they formed. The two figures below show how contrails generated on this particular day spread out fairly quickly due to the stronger jet stream of air aloft. Persistence of contrails is neither an indication that they contain some kind of chemical, nor that it is some kind of spray. As a matter of fact, sailors have known for some time to look specifically at the patterns and persistence of jet contrails for weather forecasting. On days where the contrails disappear quickly or don’t even form, they can expect continuing good weather, while on days where they persist, a change in the weather pattern may be expected.

  132. actuator says:

    “The eruption is taking place under Iceland’s Eyjafjallajokull glacier, normally a popular hiking ground about 120 km (75 miles) southeast of the capital Reykjavik.

    Kjartansson believes the volcano has melted about 10 percent of the glacier, but melting might have slowed in recent hours.”

    Must be AGW, right?

  133. anticlimactic says:

    With regards to the paragraph ‘Global Cooling After the Eruption of Mount Pinatubo: A Test of Climate Feedback by Water Vapor….These results provide quantitative evidence of the reliability of water vapor feedback in current climate models, which is crucial to their use for global warming projections.’

    My interpretation of this paragraph is : The IPCC climate models use the idea that water vapour has a large positive feedback on the small increase in temperature due to CO2 heating. Their volcano model uses this idea in reverse, in that the drying caused by the the volcano reduces the water vapour and so leads to the observed cooling.Thus their model supports the IPCC models.

    Firstly, the IPCC models do not correspond with real measurements so are invalid. If they can not model the current Earth there is no reason to suspect this will change in the next 90 years!

    Secondly, research on the real atmosphere suggests that water vapour provides a negative feedback, so for a doubling of CO2 the rise in temperature will be limited to 0.5C.

    The only conclusion is that both models are wrong.

    The idea of having two models, which both require the same effect, as being confirmation of each other is bizarre, when neither corresponds to reality! If they had a real result then it should have given a specific value for the effect of water vapour, and they should then have been able to eliminate most of the IPCC models, but apparently their results were so vague they could not eliminate any of the wide range of IPCC models!

    The phrase ‘lifting yourself up by your bootstraps’ comes to mind.

    One theory which does agree with reality is Miskolczi’s :

    http://www.landshape.org/dokuwiki/doku.php?id=introduction

    http://miskolczi.webs.com/Answers_to_some_criticism.htm

  134. David Ball says:

    Some interesting reading if you google “Europa tidal stress”. Lots of ice and volcanism to be found there.

  135. matt v. says:

    Kum Dollison
    Youasked
    “Does anyone know where I can find some information on N. American/European temperatures the last time this happened? In 1821″

    We were in the middle of the cold period of the Dalton Minimum[1790-1830] when both Katla and Eyjafjallajokull erupted last 1821-1823.[Katla eruption was june 1823 after Eyjafjallakull eruption from December 1821 -December 1822 was over] .We were also in a very cold period again in 1612 during the Little Ice age when they both went off . Katla’s eruption was October 1612 . A similar event happened during 920.[ near the end of the Dark Ages Cold Period] ]

  136. RichieP says:

    @The ghost of Big Jim Cooley (02:50:25) :
    “We’ve have had completely cloudless skies for three and a half days where I live. ”

    Not sure where you are ghostof but here in Southern England the same has been the case, with the addition (and I do not think that I am imagining it) of a brownish haze across the full horizon (or at least as much of it as I can observe from my north facing kitchen window, atop a high ridge in coastal Sussex). I only normally notice haze of this type (in fine weather) roughly above London, 50 or so miles north from here, but the current extent appears very much greater.

  137. mandobob says:

    Big Al (15:03:07) :
    “An interesting note, Mt Pinatubo blew up in the middle of a typhoon . Was it low barometric pressure that triggered the explosion?
    Or maybe rainwater from the typhoon that did it.
    I’ve never heard a explanation for it.”

    As you might expect, the eruption of Pinatubo didn’t happen suddenly. Increased activity on the volcano was underway for some time (I think at least 1 month, but could have been longer). That Pinatubo was a very dangerous is well known and due to the proximity of the US Air Base Clark (no longer active), the volcano was under active monitoring. Actually the eruption is a scientific success for eruption prediction and Clark Air Base was essentially abandoned before the main eruption based on prediction estimates. The monsoon was a very latecomer to the eruption cycle; evacuations from Clark had mostly been completed and there is no evidence that increased rainfall caused anything other than increased misery to Manila and the surrounding areas (lahars, wet soupy ash, etc.).

  138. anticlimactic (06:34:29) :

    Water vapour itself is a positive feedback. Clouds are probably a negative feedback, though all IPCC models calculate them as positive.

  139. Patrik says:

    Apparently the decision to ground much of Europes aircraft past days is founded on computer simulations by Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre in London.
    Source: Swedish SVT Teletext.

    Lufthansa and others are now strongly questioning this decision.

  140. RichieP says:

    An interesting article by Dr. Andrew Hooper, Delft University: on the possible duration of the eruption:

    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/environment/article7101084.ece

    with a nod to the less ice/more magma idea.

  141. Enneagram says:

    One of the silliest things about volcanic ash is related to its Selenium content: Environmental anthropithecuses limit its content in effluent waters to 0,20 mg/lt or by weight 0.1 ppm, however, the best harvests are gotten from higher selenium content soils; there are many examples of these all around the world, specially the Sicily oranges, high quality garlic and onion crops all over the world, etc. All the people who had a vegetable garden in Seattle, after the Saint Hellen volcano eruption have witnessed this blessing from volcanic ashes.
    So bad is Selenium (according to environ-mentalists) that the closest source you can find of it is at your closest drugstore, where it is sold as an anti-ageing drug (anti-free-radicals).

  142. Enneagram says:

    Patrik (08:33:18) :

    Apparently the decision to ground much of Europes aircraft past days is founded on computer simulations by Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre in London.
    Source: Swedish SVT Teletext.

    Lufthansa and others are now strongly questioning this decision
    You are correct. Air France and Lufthansa have made trial flights and found no ash at all. So, once again, the MET post-modern-normal-scientists-kool aid intoxicated anthropopithecuses- on the run!
    Or…they just wanna take us ASAP back to medieval no fossil fuels paradise.
    That would be nuts but possible.

  143. nofate says:

    MODERATOR ATTENTION:

    The link in the first sentence of the article, “Scientific American recently reported on the dodgy concept that climate change causes volcanoes, when in fact it is quite the opposite.” , takes the reader to the comments section of the article rather than the article header. While not really a problem for regular readers, it may throw off new readers. Apologize if this has been pointed out, don’t have time to go through every comment.

    FYI

  144. Enneagram says:

    RichieP (08:59:57) : From the link you just gave:

    I and others at Delft University of Technology have been developing algorithms to push the limits of the technique

    Those HOLY AL-GORE-ITHMS at work once again!
    Airlines must SUE the governments that have enforced the “post normal science” of these pseudo-climate-scientists.

  145. PaulH says:

    Hmmmm… more fun with climate models. Sorry if my attention wanders for a few minutes.

  146. kadaka says:

    Well, if anything I have now learned a new term for volcanic mudflows, lahars. And found out this interesting bit:

    Several mountains in the world, including Mount Rainier in the USA, Mount Ruapehu in New Zealand, and Galunggung in Indonesia, are considered particularly dangerous due to the risk of lahars. Several towns in the Puyallup River valley in Washington state, including Orting, are built on top of lahar deposits that are only about 500 years old. Lahars are predicted to flow through the valley every 500-1,000 years, so Orting, Sumner, Puyallup, Fife, and the Port of Tacoma face considerable risk. The USGS has set up lahar warning sirens in Pierce County, so that people can flee an approaching debris flow.

    Built on deposits 500 years old, lahars predicted every 500-1000 years… Now I know someplace else where I shouldn’t have a house. Besides where the several meters of warming-caused sea level rise will be soon rushing in, that is.

  147. Amino Acids in Meteorites says:

    stevengoddard (08:19:06) :

    I know you probably know about these videos with Roy Spencer showing negative feedback from clouds. But I want to post them for those who haven’t seen them

    Part 1

  148. Amino Acids in Meteorites says:

    Roy Spencer

    Part 2

  149. RichieP says:

    @ Enneagram (09:33:43) :

    “RichieP (08:59:57) : From the link you just gave:
    Those HOLY AL-GORE-ITHMS at work once again!”

    Missed that, got too involved with the deformation issue (having been reading Harris’ Pompeii, coincidentally, earlier this week).

  150. GrahamF says:

    rbateman\ nandheeswran jothi\sam bailey\Scarlet Pumpernickel

    You may be interested in this then…

    Solar Activity and Seismic Activity

    Found this interesting paper on Solar Cycles and the effect on seismic activity. May be worth an article – especially in the light of recent Chinese quakes and the Icelandic volcano!

    http://www.khalilov.biz/pdf/About%20possible%20influence%20of%20solar%20activity%20upon%20seismic%20and%20volcanic%20activities%203.pdf

    Quote:“It has been determined that in the period of solar activity increase (11-year cycles) there increase seismic and volcanic activities in the compression zone of Earth and at the same time there decreases the activity in the tension zones of Earth. On the basis of the discovered stable 11-year and 22-year cyclicalities in the seismic and volcanic activities and their high correlation with solar activity there has been made the long-term forecast until 2018. The next maximum of seismic and volcanic activity with very high amplitude for the compression zones of Earth is forecasted for the period 2012-2015.”

    Of course, more dust in the atmosphere will mean global cooling, I expect..

  151. Totally OT. Look at the cold weather headed for Nevada on Wednesday afternoon.

  152. Alan H says:

    Is it possible that the grounding of aircraft in Europe was unneccessary?
    An over-reaction or possibly an eco-warrier in a position of power who seized his chance?

    I have no idea but I feel these questions should be asked, especially as it appears that test flights by various airlines including BA have found no problem.

  153. Allan M says:

    Phil Hays (18:26:41) :

    Positive feedback does not mean unstable. Loop gains between 0 (no feedback) and +1 are stable.

    You fail to see that the positive feedback adds to the output of the system, otherwise it is not a feedback. Think compound interest.

  154. Stephen Brown says:

    Has the Met blotted its copy-book once again? Only ONE run of a ‘model’ was sufficient to close European airspace??

    “Furious airline officials yesterday shattered the safety consensus which has grounded their planes.

    The German carrier Lufthansa said it was ‘scandalous’ that it was ordered on the basis of a single computer simulation of the effects of the ash cloud.

    The executives believe the Met Office computer model is flawed and pointed to the 20 test flights completed safely over the weekend.

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1267116/Operation-volcano-Navy-armada-ready-pick-thousands-stranded-Britons-France-scuppers-DIY-rescue-mission.html

  155. In 1894, Nansen sailed within 6 degrees (400 miles) of the North Pole.

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

    Ice currently extends more than 800 miles in every direction from the pole.

  156. Mike says:

    Mike (13:57:16) :You (SG, the original poster) claim “that volcanoes cause climate change, not the other way around” is only part true.

    Amino Acids in Meteorites (20:36:26) :
    “You say climate change is sure to cause volcanic activity then you point to the Scientific American article that uses the word “may”. And you use the word “could”. You think the words “may” and “could” are observations.”

    I did not use the the word “sure”. That is your fantasy. My point was mainly about logic. SG claims the since he has shown that A causes B, it follows that B cannot also cause A. This is false. In the case at hand Sci Am article explains how this could happen in the future and likely did happen in the past.

    Atomic Hairdryer (02:38:19) : “There’s the downward pressure from the ice vs the upward pressure from the magma. It seems pretty obvious to me that the upward pressure is greater. Post normal science though seems to assign greater forcings to the melting ice than the normal forcings of being in an interglacial where we’d be expecting ice to melt and glaciers to retreat. The upward forcings still seem far greater to me than any minor differences in ice mass from man-made melting.”

    If the volcano is not erupting then the downward pressure and upward pressure are in balance. A change in either direction could then produce an eruption. I thick ice glacier is pretty heavy. Take it away, and an eruption is now more likely.

    Whether man-made melting will or won’t melt the glaciers of Iceland is a different issue. While I think AGW is real, my fear of more more volcanoes is not a major concern. If a couple of extra eruptions were the only likely outcome of AGW I would not worry about it and feel free to burn all the carbon I wanted.

  157. JMANON says:

    Interestingly The Daily Telegraph reports today that airlines are now running test flights.
    The article is here:

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/travel/travelnews/7603908/Volcanic-ash-cloud-test-flights-raise-hope-for-European-air-traffic.html

    However, the Australian Telegraph has a different take on the story from the previous day:

    http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/business/breaking-news/no-uk-flights-until-tuesday-but-airlines-suspect-reasons-for-ban-is-unfounded/story-e6freuyr-1225855203278

    The Australian Telegraph reports that the flight ban results from a computer model of ash movements and concentrations but not on any actual measurements.
    The Volcanic Ash Information office is part of the MET office, I understand.
    Somehow, MET Office and Computer models doesn’t exactly inspire confidence. If it should prove that the warning is ill founded I would suggest there are a lot of companies and organisations around the world from airlines to flower growers in Kenya who have been badly affected and who might consider suing the MET office.

  158. ammonite says:

    Graham F

    Solar Activity and Seismic Activity

    thank you for the enlightening link. This enquiry was purely driven by a layperson’s curiosity through following posts here on the subject.

    How much WUWT adds to my daily dose of fascination and comprehension about our real world cannot be measured (except by my continuing wonderment) This site has become an oasis of sanity in these times of cosmetic hype and cynical manipulation.

  159. Mae says:

    “Give us the data” – head of KLM in interview with Euronews

    I am one of many thousands stuck on the continent with my kids, delayed but thankfully with alternative transport arranged for Wednesday, so I’m watching the news rather obsessively. The interview the head of KLM just gave to Euronews struck me as ironic*:

    The MetOffice is refusing to give us the data. We have demanded that they show us just one piece of evidence but they refuse. They haven’t even sent up one plane to take actual measurements yet! We have given the EU safety regulator our data, real data, and we demand that they base their decision on our data and not one computer model.

    I am paraphrasing, there were too many interviews with the heads of Lufthansa, Air Berlin, British Airways etc to remember it all but the “Give us the data” speech was by far the most striking for me.

    On the question of danger, here are two small bits of information of flights that weren’t so good:

    Finnish jet fighters were caught out and badly damaged on Thursday

    http://www.ilmavoimat.fi/index.php?id=1149

    (Finnish Airforce news release, NOT English.)

    http://www.flightglobal.com/articles/2010/04/16/340727/pictures-finnish-f-18-engine-check-reveals-effects-of-volcanic.html

    and CNN interviewed this researcher, reporting on the skies above Britain:

    Guy Gratton, head of the Facility for Airborne Atmospheric Measurements at Britain’s Cranfield University, flew into the skies Thursday and saw “a really strange and complex set of layers of ash,” with a layer of perfectly clear air suddenly giving way to a layer of ash, he told CNN. If particles of ash enter a jet engine, when they come out they can solidify on turbine blades, he said.

    A group of his colleagues took to the skies Sunday, and in some places saw “quite high concentrations of ash,” he said.

    He then added in a CNN TV interview, the concentration of ash measured over Southhampton today was at least four or five times higher than anything they measured on Thursday.

    http://edition.cnn.com/2010/TRAVEL/04/18/volcano.ash.test.flights/index.html (halfway down the page for the online version of the statement by Gratton)

    *Truthfully, laughing hysterically probably matches my mood better.

  160. ginckgo says:

    So what this clearly shows is that gasses that are emitted into the atmosphere can have a dramatic effect on climate, overpowering any other factor.

  161. Allan M says:

    Can someone explain why the (very compressible) steam can move solid rock, when the (not compressible) liquid magma has failed to do so?

  162. TanGeng says:

    Gases compress over a large volume. Potential energy as expressed as the integral of PdV is much larger.

  163. fhsiv says:

    stevengoddard (05:44:00) :

    You said: “I don’t think there is much question that the soil liquefaction on Mt. St. Helens was primarily due to the large amount of mud (liquefied soil) which accumulated there, as the heavy snow/ice pack melted in the weeks prior to the eruption”

    Again, you’re close but I think you have the semantics wrong. Liquefaction is the process by which seismically induced cyclical stresses cause saturated, unconsolidated sediments to densify. Densification results in the expulsion of some of the water from the formation (and in some cases spectacularly to the surface as happened in the recent Baja earthquake) or results in increased pore water pressures when the water can’t escape fast enough. This results in the temporary near complete loss of shear strength of the material. The liquefied condition exists only as long as it takes the excess pore water pressure to dissipate. The amount of liberated water is relatively small and would not be enough to generate the tremendous volumes of lahars (volcanically generated debris flows) associated with the Mt. St. Helens eruption.

    The process of formation of lahars is one of mixing of surface waters (snow/glacier melt, rainfall, river and lake waters) with volcanic ash and tephra. Melted snow mixes with ash and produces a fluid with a high suspended solids content. The resulting fluid has a significantly greater specific gravity than water and in combination with higher vicosity becomes very effective at entraining everything loose in it’s path into the flow. This process was recently seen on a small scale in the debris flows that were generated by normal winter rainfall on the slopes burned by last summer’s southern California forest fire.

    While liquefaction of limited areal extent may have had a role in the initiation of the landslide which lead to the eruption, it was not responsible for the creation of the debris flows.

  164. Gregg E. says:

    History recap for the youngsters (ie, anyone under 30), that “video” of Mt. St. Helens erupting is just the latest morphing of a series of still photographs taken by Gary Rosenquist who was camping at Bear Meadows, 11 miles north east of the mountain.

    Six of his photos, haven’t been able to find any site with the full sequence that hasn’t been given the video morph treatment.

    Not much to hear but this is part of an audio recording of the May 18, 1980 eruption from 140 miles away. Crank up the bass and listen through headphones.

    http://www.freesound.org/samplesViewSingle.php?id=21432

  165. RichieP says:

    The Met Office states that a 15 minute run of their model is enough, though does admit to using other tools to make assessments too:

    http://metoffice.com/aviation/vaac/forecasting.html

    “The London VAAC forecaster provides the location, start time, release height and the top and bottom of the plume (if known) and the model is run. It takes about 15 minutes to complete….
    The Volcanic Ash Detection Tool uses the brightness temperature difference between two spectral channels to detect, monitor and track the movement of volcanic ash.
    The Volcanic Eruption Detection System uses a shape-matching technique to produce an automated alert that a suspected volcanic eruption cloud has been detected. “

  166. maksimovich says:

    It is interesting how fast the volcanic fe forced stimulus to phytoplankton is ,

    Uk phytoplankton bloom saturday 17th April Modus (aqua)

  167. Spector says:

    I believe the repetitive nature of local volcanic eruptions is indicative of an interrupted continual flow of geothermal energy from a source deep in the earth. I picture pressure building up as long as this flow is blocked until a surface failure occurs and then all energy built up since the last eruption is suddenly released in one or more short events. Finally the fracture is fully healed by solidifying magma and the cycle repeats.

    With this model, the time of any given eruption may be influenced by surface stresses, but the overall rate of eruptions is determined by the magnitude of each source of subterranean geothermal energy. I believe that it is generally accepted that the expansion of dissolved gases in rising magma provides the primary impetus driving this magma upward with such force that it can eventually break through to the surface.

  168. David says:

    According to some scientists it’s the other way about: climate change can cause volcanoes…

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/environment/climatechange/7604188/Volcanic-ash-cloud-Global-warming-may-trigger-more-volcanoes.html

    Someone just had to link geological events to AGW at some point, didn’t they.

  169. Atomic Hairdryer says:

    re: Mike (15:55:02) :
    If the volcano is not erupting then the downward pressure and upward pressure are in balance. A change in either direction could then produce an eruption. I thick ice glacier is pretty heavy. Take it away, and an eruption is now more likely.

    Whether man-made melting will or won’t melt the glaciers of Iceland is a different issue.

    I think the issue is keeping a sense of perspective. We’re used to seeing natural variability having the AGW lable slapped on it, and we’ll see more in the run up to Earth Day. People have an awful lot of money and time invested in promoting ‘green’ initiatives and want their profits, so we get advertorials like this from Scientific American.

    As I understand it, this eruption has been building for a long time. Initially it found a weaker path and erupted between the ice fields. Now, it’s erupted under the ice. The seems to indicate to me that the upward forcing is greater than the downward.

    Bigger anthropogenic issue is the way it’s demonstrated our vulnerability to natural events, and whether we’re being overcautious with our calls to action to follow the precautionary principle.

  170. Spector says:

    I wonder if it is not more correct to just say that volcanic eruptions affect the weather as opposed to saying that they cause climate change. With the possible exception of supervolcano eruptions, I do not think anyone has demonstrated that any single volcano eruption has ever caused a long-lasting climate change.

    Something, such as a major asteroid impact, that caused a worldwide change in the rate of volcanic activity might qualify, but I think most volcano eruptions just change the weather for a few years.

  171. Gregg E. (00:48:29) :

    All video is made up of a sequence of still images.

  172. matt v. says:

    In reviewing this Icelandic volcano eruption situation, it seems to me that with the entire past world focus on manmade greenhouse gases only, we seem to have taken our eye off other natural planetary cycles and potential risks which are far more consequential and immediate.
    Like VULCANISM[all locations and not just Iceland], EARTHQUAKES, UPCOMING GLOBAL COOLING, POSSIBLE IMPACT OF EARTH PASSING THROUGH A TAIL OF A COMET OR ASTEROID,and INLAND STORMS, just to name a few.
    It also begs the question, how thoroughly were negative risk analysis done on possible other risk factors that might totally dwarf or wipe out any small amount of warming caused by manmade CO2.During the last 5 months we have already seen two significant world events or natural causes [like negative AO, EL Niño & changing jet stream patterns causing a very severe winter and now the Icelandic Volcanic eruptions].These could potentially in the future wipe out any global warming for the next several years. AMO and PDO are already trending to negative or cool and will only add to the possible cooling not to mention the low solar activity and possible La Nina.To be focused on global warming only when there could be much more imminent and consequential risks to mankind, I find hard to comprehend. How many other shocks do we need before we start to look at all risks in a more balanced way? Global warming threat seems to be overblown and may not turn out to be a problem at all while other risks turn out to be “black swans”

  173. George E. Smith says:

    “”” Dr A Burns (13:53:37) :

    “the importance of the atmospheric drying in amplifying the temperature change ”

    In other words, positive feedback caused by water vapour causes temperature falls to increase at an accelerating rate; when temperatures rise, positive feedback causes an accelerating rate of increase. Models have conclusively proven we have an unstable climate system. It is amazing how climate still exists. “””

    “”” Models have conclusively proven we have an unstable climate system. “””

    That would be a first; to have a model prove something. Models are deliberately constructed to emulate something that has already been observed. Sometimes, models allow us to hypothesize as to the existence or reality of something that has NOT yet been observed. Only the subsequent observation of that something, can be offered as “proof” of anything; the models prove nothing.

  174. George E. Smith says:

    “”” Allan M (16:41:46) :

    Can someone explain why the (very compressible) steam can move solid rock, when the (not compressible) liquid magma has failed to do so? “””

    Well I’m sure someone can Allan.

    First of all, there is nothing that is NOT compressible; even magma. At best, one might say that magma is a liquid, and it has a specific Temperature coefficient of expansion; just the same as water has a specific Temperature coefficient of expansion. Once the magma has “expanded” per its TC, it can “push no more”.

    The non-magma rock, however is a solid, just like steel is a solid. It too has a temperature coefficient of expansion; but in addition to that Solids also have both tensile and compressive strengths, in terms of a limiting strain (fractional change in dimension) governed by both its strength and its modulus of elasticity.
    Ordinary structural steel for example (battleship plate) has a tensile strength (stress) of about 60,000 PSI, and a modulus of elasticity (Young’s Modulus) of 30 million PSI. Stress divided by Young’s Modulus, is the Strain or fractional elongation (or compression), so for steel that would be 60,000/30 million 1/500 or 0.2%. If you stretch steel by more than 0.2% it will distort in a non recoverable way and eventually fail (for the benefit of the materials scientists or structural engineers out there, I am looking at just the simple stuff).

    So if the magma thermal expansion does not stretch the rock, more than its maximum strain to failure, then the rock simply stretches like a spring, and if the magma cooled down, the rock would recover. The rock would not fracture unless the magma was hot enough to expand beyond the strain limit of the rock.

    Now enter the steam; which is a gas, and is NOT constrained as to volume like liquids and solids are; so it can keep on pushing and expand just as much as it wants to. Whereas the liquid magma has no more push to give after it reaaches its expansion limit set by the TC, the steam or any gas can keep on pushing. Once the solid reaches its “elastic limit”, which is the linear region where the strain is proportional to the stress, it enters a plastic flo region, where the strain increases but the modulus decreases, so a given stress increase results in a greater elongation; which of course is beyond the pushing limit of the liquid magma; but not of the steam; so the steam can keep on moving th3e rock till it fails completely.

    Hey an everyday example of this difference is the DOT testing of Scuba diving tanks; or any other compressed gas cylinders.

    To test the cylinder, they immerse it in a water bath, and then pump it up with water to the test pressure. If the tank fails, it simply goes “burp” and cracks open, letting a miniscule amount of the pressurized water to escape harmlessly.
    If you were to apply the same internal pressure with a compressed gas; when the tank failed; it would explode catastrophically.

    So that (sorry for the length) is why the steam can accomplish, what the magma can’t; the magma can only make it go “burp”.

  175. George E. Smith says:

    Seems to me that some years back there was a “Disaster Movie” in the vein of Titanic, or Tornado, etc.

    This one had the impressive title of:-

    “Kakatoa, East of Java !”

    As can be seen plainly in the above map; Krakatoa is in fact West of Java.

    Oh well; nobody ever said Hollywood producers were smart people.

  176. Alexander says:

    The city of Auckland in New Zealand is built on around 50 dormant volcanos. They are covered in grass, parks or buildings, but in the sub-tropical climate there and at just above sea level, not an ounce of ice or snow in sight; so why don’t they all blow?

  177. George E. Smith says:

    “”” Alexander (06:28:46) :

    The city of Auckland in New Zealand is built on around 50 dormant volcanos. They are covered in grass, parks or buildings, but in the sub-tropical climate there and at just above sea level, not an ounce of ice or snow in sight; so why don’t they all blow? “””

    Well Alexander, I always thought it was more like 60; but who’s counting; once you get used to 50 Volcanoes in your back yard; why quibble over ten more.

    And the lack of ice or snow on any of them is only half of the problem; in some cases; like Mt Roskill for example, they have actually tried to dig down to the magma; to the point where they carted the whole damn mountain away to spread around on the roads. That’s kinda like giving your index finger to Thor, during a thunderstorm; which can also be done in Auckland. Well Kiwis are quite used to the index finger salute.
    If my memory serves me correctly, NZ actually declared war on Germany, 12 hours before Great Britain did; some sort of timing synchronisation snafu.
    Well we might have looked little bit stupid if Britain had changed their mind at the last minute.

    I do remember one Guy Fawkes Day, that some local Rocket Scientist had this great idea to set off a whole bunch of ancient unstable ammo, in the crater of Rangitoto; to (a) get rid of it, and (b) to simulate an eruption.

    Somebody of sound mind at the time; got the idea that Pele, might actually not enjoy the wake up call, and respond with his own fireworks.

    But if any of those things decided to play, it would be a big embarrassment for Aucklanders; I believe Rangitoto, is the one with the most recent history of eruption.

    George

  178. George E. Smith says:

    “”” Allan M (14:50:16) :

    Phil Hays (18:26:41) :

    Positive feedback does not mean unstable. Loop gains between 0 (no feedback) and +1 are stable.

    You fail to see that the positive feedback adds to the output of the system, otherwise it is not a feedback. Think compound interest. “””

    Well far more common is that positive feedback adds to the INPUT of the system, a component that is proportional to the OUTPUT, and the end result is that the final Ouput is MULTIPLIED by some factor less than infinity, rather than have something added to it.

    Lots of physical systems have built in feedback; but it tends to be always negative, so it cannot lead to instability. Lenz’s law is one such situation.
    I believe it is just a special form of a more general Principle known as Le Chataliere’s Principle; where a given physical effect, results in an opposing effect that tries to cancel the cause of the initial disturbance. (lots of chemical reaction examples)

    An electric Motor also acts as a generator that sets up a counter EMF that always opposes the applied Voltage, so it limits the available net Voltage to drive the motor, so it limits the motor speed.
    Another example can be found in some of the new types of very high internal Quantum efficiency LED structures. The internal QE can be very high; very nearly one, but much of the generated flux rattles around inside the device, limited by TIR (Total Internal Reflection) trapping which prevents its escape from the device).
    But the LED is also an efficient photo-detector, specially in some cases for the actual photon energies that the diode generates; so the excess photon flux rattling around in the diode, is re-absorbed by the diode, resulting in a generated Photo-current that is opposite to the forward drive current in the diode. As a result, the diode starts to exhibit, a higher internal resistance, that limits the net drive current, and hence the output light intensity.

    Higher Optical extraction efficiencies that allow the escape of more photons, result in less regenerated photo-current, and cancellation of the drive current.

    But none of those feedback effects ever cause, or can cause self oscillation, except in the special case of stimulated emission, that leads to laser action. They should be called Losers, anyway, since they are unstable light Oscillators, rather than stable light Amplifiers. They only work because they can prestore higher energy electrons in some metastable state, permitting an emission gain that is greater than the round trip optical losses in the optical resonator feedback structure.

    None of that happens in the case of greenhouse gas phenomena. For a start any real “optical” structure in the atmosphere always has optical transmission losses and bound by the limits of the Lagrange invariant (n.h.u) or its non paraxial equivalent (N.H.SinU), so the optical atmospheric processes can never yield an unstable positive feedback; leading to a runaway warming. It would require some additional source of energy from somewhere else to render the atmospheric system regenerative to the point of thermal runaway; in other words an atmospheric laser of sorts or its equivalent.

    Even water vapor, itself an abundant green house gas cannot produce a feedback gain sufficient to cause runaway; so whether water vapor feedback is triggered by a water vapor “pulse” from the exhaust of a car; or from a CO2 “pulse” from the exhaust of a car; it can never have a regenerative runaway gain. And the problem with water vapor feedback, is that the evaporation phenomenon, is a Le Chataliere’s Principle process, and it immediately sets off a negative feedback corrective action by the formation of clouds.

    So H2O by itself can never achieve runaway gain, and CO2 can at best replace part of the H2O initiation.

    It’s the old brain teaser problem:- a water lily plant in the fountain pond, doubles in size every week. It takes 10 weeks from the planting of a single plant in the pond, before the fountain is completely full of water lily.
    How long would it take to fill the pond with water lillies if you started with two plants instead of one ?
    Well of course, all you save is the first week of growth, so it still takes nine weeks to fill the pond, if you plant two plants instead of one.

    Same thing with CO2; the addition of a miniscule (400 ppm) of CO2 to an atmosphere with on average 1% of H2O, can at best save the time it took for the evaporation of the first 400 ppm of H2O; and probably much less, since H2O absorbs considerably more of the total available spectrum, than CO2 does, so 400 ppm of H2O likely causes more warming (atmospheric) than 400 ppm of CO2.

    “It’s the Water; Stupid !” (not personally Allan)

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