Claim: Global Warming will Impede Volcanic Cooling

This is a plume of ash from the Sarychev volcano in the Kuril islands, northeast of Japan. The picture was taken from the International Space Station during the early stage of the volcano's eruption on June 12, 2009. Credits: NASA
This is a plume of ash from the Sarychev volcano in the Kuril islands, northeast of Japan. The picture was taken from the International Space Station during the early stage of the volcano’s eruption on June 12, 2009. Credits: NASA

Guest essay by Eric Worrall

A study published in the Journal of Geophysical Research claims that global warming will impede the ability of volcanoes to push sulphur compounds into the stratosphere, which will in turn reduce the cooling effect of volcanic eruptions.

Climate change may prevent volcanoes from cooling the planet

When an eruption is powerful enough, volcanoes spew sulfur gasses high into the atmosphere, reaching a layer called the stratosphere, about 10 to 15 kilometres above Earth’s surface. Here, gasses react with water to form aerosol particles that linger in the stratosphere for one or two years, reflecting sunlight and heat from the sun, and cooling the planet. On average, there are anywhere from three to five eruptions that reach the stratosphere every year.

Previous research has shown that as the planet warms, the lower layers of the atmosphere will expand, making it much harder for the gasses to reach the stratosphere. At lower levels, in the troposphere, the gasses quickly get turned into aerosols and clouds and precipitate back down to earth as rain or snow.

“Volcanic eruptions tend to counteract global warming but as the planet heats up and our atmosphere changes, we’ve found that fewer eruptions will be able to reflect the sun’s radiation,” said Thomas Aubry, a PhD student studying climate and volcanoes. “It will be harder for the volcanic gasses to reach high enough into atmosphere to help cool the planet.”

Read more:

The abstract of the study;

Impact of global warming on the rise of volcanic plumes and implications for future volcanic aerosol forcing


Thomas J. Aubry ,A. Mark Jellinek, Wim Degruyter, Costanza Bonadonna, Valentina Radić, Margot Clyne, Adjoa Quainoo

Volcanic eruptions have a significant impact on climate when they inject sulfur gases into the stratosphere. The dynamics of eruption plumes is also affected by climate itself, as atmospheric stratification impacts plumes height. We use an integral plume model to assess changes in volcanic plume maximum rise heights as a consequence of global warming, with atmospheric conditions from an ensemble of global climate models (GCM), using three representative concentration pathways (RCP) scenarios. Predicted changes in atmospheric temperature profiles decrease the heights of tropospheric and lowermost stratospheric volcanic plumes and increase the tropopause height, for the RCP4.5 and RCP8.5 scenarios in the coming three centuries. Consequently, the critical mass eruption rate required to cross the tropopause increases by up to a factor 3 for tropical regions, and up to 2 for high-latitude regions. A number of recent lower stratospheric plumes, mostly in the tropics (e.g., Merapi, 2010), would be expected to not cross the tropopause starting from the late 21st century, under RCP4.5 and RCP8.5 scenario. This effect could result in a ≃5 − 25% decrease in the average SO2 flux into the stratosphere carried by small plumes, which frequency is larger than the rate of decay of volcanic stratospheric aerosol, and a ≃2 − 12% decrease of the total flux. Our results suggest the existence of a positive feedback between climate and volcanic aerosol forcing. Such feedback may have minor implications for global warming rate but can prove to be important to understand the long-term evolution of volcanic atmospheric inputs.

Read more (paywalled):

I don’t have access to the full study, but the obvious question – why did the researchers base their study on a model?

Why not send a few weather balloons through volcanic plumes at different latitudes and different times of year, to actually measure the impact of different atmospheric conditions on the formation of volcanic stratospheric aerosols?

The atmosphere is much thicker at the equator than at the poles – the troposphere is only around 4 miles thick at the poles during winter, but reaches 12 miles thick in equatorial regions.

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Jimmy Haigh
November 21, 2016 3:35 am

So what do we do? Fill all of the volcanoes full of cement?

Reply to  Jimmy Haigh
November 21, 2016 3:36 am

DOY YOU REALIZE just how much CO2 all of that concrete would generate!?!

Reply to  ClimateOtter
November 21, 2016 3:37 am

….someone Please tell me where that extra ‘Y’ came from.

Reply to  ClimateOtter
November 21, 2016 3:46 am


Reply to  ClimateOtter
November 21, 2016 3:57 am

Obviously it came from You. You put so much emphasis on You you started it twice.

Reply to  ClimateOtter
November 21, 2016 4:44 am

Your keyboard stammers.

Informed Consumer
Reply to  ClimateOtter
November 21, 2016 5:05 am

Computer model. They are notorious for it. 🙂

Reply to  ClimateOtter
November 21, 2016 6:08 am

It’s a zero sum game, it offsets the CO2 that the volcano produces. I suggest that we put the authors of the article on top of the volcanic plug to monitor its status. We should also give them a flag to plant on Mars when the volcano decides that it does not like that plug.

Reply to  ClimateOtter
November 21, 2016 6:23 am

“….someone Please tell me where that extra ‘Y’ came from.”
It’s called dysphasia, you are probably mildly dyslexic too. 😉

Reply to  ClimateOtter
November 21, 2016 6:39 am

doy is pop culture speak for duh!
You just missed the ! out.

george e. smith
Reply to  ClimateOtter
November 21, 2016 7:45 am

Well it didn’t come from France Otter, otherwise it would be an extra Z instead.

Reply to  ClimateOtter
November 21, 2016 11:24 am

A new study has found that as concrete ages, it reabsorbs most of the CO2 that was released in making it.

george e. smith
Reply to  Jimmy Haigh
November 21, 2016 7:42 am

Well don’t worry about the volcanoes Tommy, those things will blast through anything they set their little hearts desire to.
And the microbes that survive the blasts that no longer happen, will make rain drops for us, so we don’t need any aerosols.
And I didn’t need any computer to figure that out.
If that is what you are planning to earn your living on Tommy, you are going to starve to death.

Reply to  Jimmy Haigh
November 21, 2016 7:53 am

As an experiment lets have a nice VE-7 eruption and monitor the results..
“But the models-oh the horror!!…”

November 21, 2016 3:36 am

I don’t even know where to begin on this one….. if convection in a thunderstorm can break through to the Stratosphere I can’t see why a much more powerful event like an eruption would have much trouble.

Reply to  ClimateOtter
November 21, 2016 3:45 am

A warmer climate means more convection and you would think that would aid in pushing stuff higher in the atmosphere.

Reply to  commieBob
November 21, 2016 10:18 am

Convection is caused by temperature DIFFERENCE not total temperature. Density differences between cool liquid and warmer liquid cause convection. A mere 1°C temperature change in the surrounding atmosphere won’t have much of an effect considering the volcanic plume is still greater than 400°C.

Reply to  commieBob
November 21, 2016 10:59 am

rocketscientist — that doesn’t really follow. First off, the temperature differentials get larger as temperature rises, because space (where all the heat eventually goes) is a few degrees above absolute zero. Second, the temperature of the plume isn’t relevant to the question of how the plume ejecta gets circulated by the rest of the atmosphere (which is immensely larger) after cooling and joining the rest of the atmosphere.

Reply to  commieBob
November 21, 2016 12:26 pm

TallDave, there is another force acting, gravity, which also greatly effects atmospheric density. Because air is compressible the density is greatly effected by the weight of the column above it. This gravitational gradient becomes a much greater effect as it effects heat transfer. You also seem to be confusing radiant heat transfer (to outer space) with conductive heat transfer caused by two contacting substances.

Mario Lento
Reply to  commieBob
November 22, 2016 8:32 pm

I agree. Would not a warmer atmosphere be less dence and allow for easier penetration of the explosion? Help me out here. We all know a baseball goes farther on a warm day than a cold day. And basing the results on a model which assumes a hot spot, which would act as an invesion layer… I thought the hot spot was debunked. Please help and tell me where I am wrong here!

Reply to  ClimateOtter
November 21, 2016 6:28 am

This is the kind of inane drivel that Journal of Geophysical Research has made its hallmark over the years. Recall Mickey Mann in the climategate emails saying they must not lose over JGR.
How much higher do they expect the tropopause to get ? Out of reach to a VEI 5 ? Come on!
Junk science yet again. And this is the kind of stupid crap that Trump is supposed to accept without question and not “deny climate science” according to DeGrasse Tyson.

Reply to  Greg
November 21, 2016 6:29 am

oops : ” … must not lose CONTROL over JGR.”

Reply to  Greg
November 21, 2016 9:35 pm

“Junk science yet again.”

Reply to  ClimateOtter
November 21, 2016 10:04 am

Assuming that gravity doesn’t increase with global warming (yet) the plumes will rise proportionally as high as they did before. Buoyancy and density still behave the same.

November 21, 2016 3:38 am

Well,of course it’s models all the way down.What we have is a mass of PhDs with nowhere to go.Study: why Alsatian mice grow bigger than rats.

george e. smith
Reply to  GlenM
November 21, 2016 7:50 am

65% of ALL US University PhD graduates in Physics, will never ever get a paying job working in their specialty. They are doomed to become post doc. fellows at some institution or other, and swill at the public trough (mostly).
Climate seems to be their line of least resistance in that the 30 years it takes to observe any climate effect results, is all you need to get to a taxpayer pensioned retirement point.

Dave Fair
Reply to  george e. smith
November 21, 2016 9:22 am

As I previously opined, climate-related PhD’s will will become “a dime a dozen” if President The Donald follows through on his commitments. Federal government grants fund many post-doc positions. Like Clinton supporters, they were told the money would flow forever.

Ian Magness
November 21, 2016 3:44 am

I’m sorry, but as someone who once trained in earth sciences, this just has to go down as so much horse-sh** on a volcanic scale. The very idea that the incredibly powerful effusions of a significant volcano will be damped down by a few extra CO2 and similar molecules (on a parts per million scale!) in the troposphere is beyond stupid. Back to class, pack to primary school science even.

Reply to  Ian Magness
November 21, 2016 5:29 am

I think what they’re saying is that, since the tropopause would be higher with CAGW, then the volcano would need to shoot the plume higher. So, it’s not damping the volcano, it’s just moving the target higher.

Reply to  Bob Shapiro
November 21, 2016 6:34 am

The main problem with this logic is that there have not been any major stratospheric volcanoes since 1991 yet global warming has SLOWED dramatically in that time.
Looks like they have major problems with amount of impact volcanoes have in the first place.
No wonder that the americain people and those they elect has heard enough of this kind on inane BS and not longer listen.

Harry Twinotter
Reply to  Ian Magness
November 21, 2016 9:13 am

Ian Magness.
You did not read the study. If you are trained in Earth Sciences, read the study and then update your comment accordingly.

Reply to  Harry Twinotter
November 21, 2016 7:13 pm

Why not just ‘model’ the study? Which actually gives their research more validity than they deserve.

“Previous research has shown that as the planet warms”

“For this study, Aubry, who is a PhD student in professor Mark Jellinek’s lab in the department of earth, ocean and atmospheric sciences, used models of volcanic eruptions and global climate to calculate the impact on gasses released from volcanic eruptions.”

“To determine the precise impact on Earth’s surface temperature in the future will require further study”

” this mechanism may have contributed”

Confirmation bias! Lots of assumptions, based on assumptions.
High School quality research.comment image?dl=0comment image?dl=0

Reply to  Harry Twinotter
November 22, 2016 3:24 am

Unless they published all their models, and all the biased assumptions going into the models, then it’s not possible to critique their model with only this article in hand.
Just assume every model is full of biased assumptions unless shown otherwise. I don’t think one will go too far wrong working from that premise.

Ian Magness
Reply to  mark4asp
November 22, 2016 3:47 am

Agreed Harry. In this particular case, however, my point is that the proposition is SO absurd that it’s not worth the paper that it’s written on. The scales involved are the key. We are led to believe that a few extra molecules of GHGs on a parts per million scale can cause such physical and chemical changes to the structure of the atmosphere globally that the extremely powerful, violent and localised effects of a volcanic plume that leaves the ground at pressures and temperatures of many orders of magnitude greater than the ambient conditions, will be significantly influenced in behaviour. It’s like saying a human being can go up to a burning building, climb a crane until he or she is over the top of it, take a deep breath and then blow the rising smoke plume back down again. Sorry, I just don’t buy it!

Harry Twinotter
Reply to  Ian Magness
November 22, 2016 5:51 am

Ian Magness.
The study does not say the effect is because of CO2, it says it is because of global warming raising the average level of the tropopause. Your comment shows you did not read the paper.

November 21, 2016 3:56 am

“reflecting sunlight and heat from the sun”! What a joker this student is.

george e. smith
Reply to  Phillip Bratby
November 21, 2016 10:45 pm

Wearing my pedantic hat for a moment. We get neither light nor heat from the sun.
We do get copious supplies of electromagnetic radiation energy (photons).
Some of them (less than one octave ) create the sensation we call “light” in our brains.
Much of the rest dissolves in the deep oceans, and is eventually captured by some non-radiative process, leading to conversion to waste heat, which is just the random vibration energy of atoms and molecules, and maybe some rotational energy too.
If you connect the sun to the earth with a type IIa diamond thermally conductive rod, (a) it will melt and evaporate, but even if it didn’t, the maximum amount of heat it would conduct from the sun, is in the microwatt per meter squared region. I worked it out once, and just ignored the evaporation of the rod.
You can do the same. I’m sure you can giggle up the thermal conductivity of type IIa diamond. I almost forgot, that type IIa diamond only has a spectacular thermal conductivity at a Temperature of about 100 K.
Well even copper would evaporate. It’s darn near impossible to conduct heat from the sun to the earth, and the tiny amount of convection we get is almost un-measurable.

Peta in Cumbria
November 21, 2016 4:18 am

and we see again, a legion of authors. Safety in numbers innit? If one of them in that group had any sort of doubt about this work, they’d be instantly shouted down by the rest. Science by consensus from a group of guilt ridden depressives.
Hint: Lay off the carbs folks, wake up and stop making asrehloes of yourselves.
Then this word ‘spew’ comes up yet again, with all its (less than) scientific connotations. sigh
Sorry peeps but volcanoes are actually very lovely things – if you’re a plant. Any plant.
OK, I may endlessly say ‘Don’t eat plants, they’ll make you fat & stupid’ but ‘we’ really do need them and they need volcanoes.
Admittedly, a volcano is pretty disruptive in its immediate vicinity (for a short time geologically) and won’t be available at Walmart any time soon (that’s tempting so much fate, sorry) but, they are veritable fountains of ambrosia for plants.
All that sulphur, carbon dioxide, bits of soluble nitrogen mixed in and spread around is all very useful but mostly, its all that lovely fresh rock and dust bringing the myriad of trace elements plants need.
We say round here “Oh look at the Sahel going green with extra CO2”
I don’t buy that, adding just CO2 and/or water to a desert will not make it bloom.
Trigger a few volcanoes across the Sahara and within a century it’ll be an impenetrable rainforest. Again

Gentle Tramp
Reply to  Peta in Cumbria
November 21, 2016 9:56 am

BUT the Sahara WAS green for several thousand years during the Holocene climate optimum because of a stronger African Monsoon thanks to a 2°C warmer global climate then – and that without much volcanoes “across the Sahara”…
A warmer climate is enough to make the Sahara desert green again!

Gentle Tramp
Reply to  Peta in Cumbria
November 21, 2016 2:59 pm
george e. smith
Reply to  Peta in Cumbria
November 21, 2016 10:48 pm

The idea behind multiple authors is that each of them can claim deniability as far as being blamed for anything said in the paper.
“Oh it was one of the other co-authors who said that.”
Not on my watch you don’t. If you attach YOUR name to it, you are equally responsible for everything the paper claims.

November 21, 2016 4:23 am

Just some layman’s questions but ….
if ‘global warming’ is so nefariously good (as their theories/models claim) at preventing cooling mechanisms, then:
a) why is recent geological history so full of ice ages ?
b) why is this still a pretty green planet instead of a heat-blasted desert world ?
Just curious – unless of course, there’s more hot air than actual evidence in effect (pun very much intended)

Reply to  JB
November 21, 2016 7:22 pm

In spite of alarmist hand waving and shrieks of disaster:
Most recent pictures of temperature reconstructions, someone pastes in recent temperatures pretending that recent temperatures and temperature reconstructions are identical. A technique that is more related to inking moustaches onto pictures of other people.

Alan the Brit
November 21, 2016 4:23 am

ensemble of global climate models (GCM)! Says it all really! The very idea that a ppm of CO2, o.o4% ofthe atmosphere, can control a powerful volcanic eruption is ridiculous! These bozos & their colleagues trying to scare us about the volcanic desruction impending to wipe out America need to do some joined up thinking!

Informed Consumer
Reply to  Alan the Brit
November 21, 2016 5:02 am

Isn’t 4ppm 0.0004%?

Reply to  Informed Consumer
November 21, 2016 9:50 am

400 ppm is 0.04% or 0.0004 (decimal fraction). I’ve done the math many times…..
Ian M

Ian L. McQueen
Reply to  Informed Consumer
November 21, 2016 9:52 am

So, yes you are correct.
Ian M

November 21, 2016 4:28 am

Climate Change Catastrophism: one bozo eruption after another.

Bob Hoye
Reply to  PiperPaul
November 21, 2016 9:25 am

Bozo eruption.
Great line.

November 21, 2016 4:35 am

If volcanic cooling is impeded by global warming, then what was professed on an episode of the newer series of Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey (2014) is flawed.
Neil deGrasse-Tyson (that name again) narrated the series, where during an episode it was promoted that a vast area of Siberia became volcanic and spewed out huge amounts of CO2 (poisonous gas to Green Leftards), overheated the atmosphere and killed all the dinosaurs.
If the Siberia hypothesis was correct, we’d still be in a runaway greenhouse, likewise for the “volcanic cooling impeded by global warming”.
So to deGrasse-Tyson and all the other self-professed poindexters – WHERE THE HELL IS MY RUNAWAY GREENHOUSE??
Did the oceans ate your homework yet again?

November 21, 2016 4:38 am

wow isnt the desperation showing?
whatta load

November 21, 2016 4:38 am

“For the comimg THREE CENTURIES” !!!
BOY, are these guys making one stupid-ass assumption. They really think that man’s greenhouse emisssions will continue for three centuries?

Rhoda R
Reply to  arthur4563
November 21, 2016 10:04 am

I pray this it may, and for many more after that as well.

Dave N
November 21, 2016 4:40 am

So the trick is: no matter how much cooling there is from the next major eruption, alarmists will claim: “there would have been more if not for ‘global warming'”.

Informed Consumer
Reply to  Dave N
November 21, 2016 5:09 am

That’s what they’re working up to. When the planet doesn’t melt over the next ten years the claim will be “All the mitigation mechanisms we put in place have worked, we must continue”.

John M. Ware
Reply to  Dave N
November 21, 2016 6:32 am

In a way, one must admire the authors’ persistence. No matter what the issue, they find a way to twist it to make “climate change” more dangerous and terrible, especially the CO2 stuff from human causes. So many here have pointed out the dependence upon models rather than data; I concur.

Bill Illis
November 21, 2016 4:45 am

In the theory, the levels of the troposphere and the stratosphere, the levels where temperature is 255K before and after global warming, only move by about 400 or 500 metres up or down. Its not like things change that drastically. Its just minor changes, so I imagine volcanic sulphates are not going to be blocked.

November 21, 2016 4:46 am

If the atmosphere has expanded then other gases must have gone higher so why wouldn’t CO2?

Reply to  son of mulder
November 21, 2016 4:46 am


November 21, 2016 4:46 am

There is no science or hard data here – just magical invocations. Because the wizard says that’s how it is, that’s how it must be – until someone wiser says different.

Pop Piasa
Reply to  tadchem
November 21, 2016 7:48 am

the progressive “adjusted” scientific method at work.

November 21, 2016 4:53 am

My first reaction to this was the use of the phrase “a layer called the stratosphere, about 10 to 15 kilometres above Earth’s surface.”
Even ignorant non-scientists like me have heard of the stratosphere and have a pretty rough idea where it is, which suggests to me that this paper is not meant for scientists but for lay people, most likely enviro-activists. Which also suggests to me that it is likely to be very short on verifiable facts (or may lack them altogether) and is simply more warmist propaganda.
D- Really must try harder!

Reply to  Newminster
November 21, 2016 5:29 am

Whatever induces “action” from the climate ninnies are the words that are chosen.

Informed Consumer
November 21, 2016 4:59 am

“Here, gasses react with water to form aerosol particles that linger in the stratosphere for one or two years”
So what is it, one or two years?
“Predicted changes in atmospheric temperature”
Based on what? Hockey stick perhaps? Computer projections? Or perhaps empirical satellite data? I’m sure it’s defined in the paper……..ahem.
“Our results suggest the existence of a positive feedback between climate and volcanic aerosol forcing.”
Ah! it’s a suggestion, so not really science.
“Such feedback may have minor implications for global warming rate but can prove to be important to understand the long-term evolution of volcanic atmospheric inputs.”
MAY have MINOR implications for global warming…………but can PROVE to be important to understand the long-term evolution of volcanic atmospheric inputs. What is being studied here, precisely? Do we understand volcano’s well enough to start predicting their impact on a phenomenon we know we don’t understand well in the first place.
Can we give this Phd student back his crayons and keep him away from computers, please. I trust the full paper is considerably more conclusive than this rubbish. I wouldn’t have accepted a report like this from a probationary police officer far less an academic of any description.
Isn’t science supposed to prove things beyond reasonable doubt, based on the observed evidence to hand, at the time?
Accepted criminal law (at least in the UK) would not accept any of this nonsense as sufficient (not even close) evidence to convict anyone of anything, yet the future of mankind is reliant on this and other such rubbish. The complete paper may be credible but no one should be bothered to read it based on this appalling abstract.

Reply to  Informed Consumer
November 21, 2016 5:43 am

It’s like newspaper headlines – very often designed to grab by the eyeballs and leave a lasting (political) impression in the readers’ minds regardless of the actual content of the story itself.

Informed Consumer
Reply to  PiperPaul
November 21, 2016 6:58 am

Sadly, it’s real science that’ll pay for sensationalist science. In turn, it’ll be the public that suffers when people understand they have been conned.

Reply to  Informed Consumer
November 21, 2016 7:14 am

Actually, science isn’t supposed to be used to “prove” anything. At least that is what I was taught way back in my General Science course. You have to have years and years of data for a hypothesis to become a theory. One example of not using science to “prove” is superconductivity (certain substances as very low temperatures do not resist electricity). One of the results of superconductivity is that there is a certain temperature (approximately -400 degrees Fahrenheit) above which it is impossible. Everyone thought that was it, for a long time. Until someone showed you could have superconductivity at -321 degrees Fahrenheit.
All science is tentative. As my children say (in their most motherly mocking voice), “All you need is one counter-example…”
Yep, so far, all of Newtons laws work. But, if we find a situation where they don’t, we either have to modify the theory, or figure out new ones…

November 21, 2016 4:59 am

While we’re on the subject, there are some questions I’ve been pondering recently, and I’d be interested in comments . . .
Several contributers have recently posted a chart of stratospheric temps over the satellite era, including the Pinatubo & El Chinchon eruptions. In both cases there was an immediate warming of the stratosphere, followed by a cooling 2-3 years later. And in each case the cooling left temps at a lower level than before the eruption (ie a ‘step cooling’).
I have also read that not all volcanoes/eruptions are the same, and that stratosperic temps and tropospheric temps may be inversely correlated.
So my questions are:
1) Do (some) volcanic eruptions lead to short term warming of the s/sphere,
but a longer-term cooling?
2) Does this imply a short-term cooling of the troposphere, but a longer-term
3) Is this true of all eruptions, or just some types?
4) Does it matter WHERE the eruption occurs (upper atmospheric air currents/
ozone effects etc)?
5) Does this mean that our bland assumption of ‘volcanoes cool’ is wrong?
6) What does this mean for atmospheric theory & models?
Sorry, bit long, but I’m fascinated . . . CC

November 21, 2016 5:06 am

Someone got l funding by writing a research proposal promising to link runaway global warming with volanoes and destroy the sulfate paradigm in the process. Eh voila, models primed and away we go. Next research proposal in the bag (perhaps? – do you hear a trump-et call?)

old construction worker
November 21, 2016 5:36 am

Kept the tax payers money coming: Maybe I could get a government grant modeling why little boys get dirtier than little girls.

Reply to  old construction worker
November 21, 2016 5:54 am
Reply to  TonyL
November 21, 2016 6:11 am

There you go, injecting reality into stuff. Only models count you know…

November 21, 2016 5:37 am

Why not send a few weather balloons through volcanic plumes

I can imagine that the life expectancy of a weather balloon in the superheated core of the plume is ~8 seconds. slightly longer for the instrument package.
But not to worry. We all know that CO2 causes more volcanoes, so the lesser effect of each one will be offset by the greater number of them.

November 21, 2016 6:15 am

“why did the researchers base their study on a model?”
They are likely using a lot of data from weather balloons and real measurements from volcanos and plumes already, then build a computer program (a “model”) to run a simulation of how the outcome would be if the global climate was warmer. Simulations like this are usually done to predict future events that cannot be measured directly. In this case because the climate is not warm enough yet to directly measure how plumes would react in a warmer global climate. Still, the simulations themselves must be based on real observations and measurements to make them as accurate as possible, and to be able to simulate how plumes move at all.
I’m not saying they cannot be wrong, all predictions can be wrong. But I don’t see a problem with using computer models/programs, based on real data and observations, to help us predict the future. In fact, I think it would be impossible to do without it, because smoke/fluid simulations is not something you can do by hand.

Reply to  Hannes
November 21, 2016 6:23 am

Because the computer model has assumptions built in. If any of those assumptions are wrong, so is the predicition. To date, most climate predictions have been wrong, so there is a problem.
I ask people: If you had a doctor who did an exam and then fed the information into a model and the model said you were going to die is six months, would you quit your job and live it up knowing with certainty you’d be dead in six months, stopping all medical checkups because the model says you will die and it’s based on real-world data? If you had a doctor who did an exam, said that your illness generally kills in six months but recommended further testing and actual monthly examinations to watch for real world changes and ways to deal with your illness, would you do the monthly exams and see how things went? Would you believe a model if your life depended on that model?
Predictions are, on the whole, wrong unless they deal with a very small number of variables. Note the predictions of presidential elections. Chaos cannot be predicted.

Reply to  Reality check
November 21, 2016 10:39 am

“Chaos cannot be predicted”
Or that’s how it used to be at any rate because if you had a model which could predict the stock market you would soon own all of the money in the World. I must have missed the seminal paper demonstrating that this is no longer the case and chaos is indeed now trivially predictable. Usually when I bring this up with believers I receive patronising sneers by way of answer – but never any actual answers. Funny that.

Reply to  Reality check
November 21, 2016 2:50 pm

“Chaos cannot be predicted”
Overly simplistic
While chaos means that you can’t predict the motion of a single molecule, with a large enough volume you get both the gas laws and thermodynamics.
Chaos means that you can’t predict where each cloud will be tomorrow, but you can predict that tomorrow will be cloudier than today.

Reply to  Hannes
November 21, 2016 2:40 pm

“In fact, I think it would be impossible to do without it, because smoke/fluid simulations is not something you can do by hand.”
Then it ain’t science, to me . . Only that which can be confirmed in reality-land (otherwise known as the time-space continuum) is rightly spoken of as science. (Using computers or wearing pocket protectors don’t cut it, with me anyway ; )

Tom in Florida
November 21, 2016 6:30 am

““It will be harder for the volcanic gasses to reach high enough into atmosphere to help cool the planet.””
Thank the heavens for that!

November 21, 2016 6:37 am

To the authors of this THEORY I say, produce the data! I don’t mean the the massaged, or corrected, or computer generated, or what ever data. I may not be able to discern the validity of the data, however, between the presenters and certain commenters I get educated.

November 21, 2016 6:39 am

Oh ya…”I cannot see a problem using models to predict climate of the future…” How have those models been working for you lately – say over the last couple thousand years. Right – past performance does not necessarily predict future results – a motto from the financial industry now being applied to the climate change industry.

Keith J
November 21, 2016 6:44 am

Volcanic sulfate emissions make iron oxide available to plankton, which in turn sequester carbon via photosynthesis. Look at Dr. John Martin’s work on iron seeding.
Now to my hypothesis: All carbon was at one time in the atmosphere. Then came the oxygen catastrophe and most was sequestered carbonate minerals. Life finds a way, just like Ian Malcolm (fiction but based on fact) deduced and there is no possibility of returning to pre oxygen catastrophe era.
The elephant in the room is missing carbon, a topic swept under the rug by CAGW faithful. Yes, it is an accounting error arising from incomplete understanding of the carbon cycle. The ripest low hanging fruit in the missing carbon quandry are clatherates, that strange methane trapping ice which unlike even frozen sea water, is negatively buoyant.
How much carbon exists in clatherates? Twice as much as all known petroleum, natural gas and coal.

Rhoda R
Reply to  Keith J
November 21, 2016 10:12 am

Are you talking about elemental carbon or carbon dioxide?

Keith J
Reply to  Rhoda R
November 21, 2016 1:24 pm

Carbon in clathrates is in methane, one carbon and four hydrogen atoms.

November 21, 2016 6:58 am

Indeed, the Tropospheric Warm Zone does not exist.
The Global-Warming-from-CO2 “theory” is falsified.
All further discussion on this topic is moot.
“Volcanoes failing to cool the Earth”
This is a problem?
Give me a break
Time to discuss the weather and not the climate.

Reply to  RobRoy
November 21, 2016 7:53 am

If the modelled tropical tropospheric hot spot did exist, it would be from warming of tropical waters, and from decreased wet adiabatic lapse rate due to higher concentration of water vapor. Its failure to occur is from tropical oceans warming less than the models predicted. The models are poorly tuned apparently because they were tuned to consider the rapid warming from the mid 1970s to shortly after 2000 as all manmade, while a natural multidecadal cycle (including AMO, likely also multi-year-smoothed ENSO which may be loosely linked) probably accounts for about .2-.22 degree C of that warming. And the CMIP5 models only have up to 2005 being history/hindcast – after that is their forecast – beginning shortly after AMO (and around when multiyear-smoothed ENSO) turned a corner.
In any case, of the model-forecast tropical tropospheric hotspot and the model-forecast greater surface warming both did exist, convection to the tropopause would still occur at least as easily as it did before.

Reply to  Donald L. Klipstein
November 21, 2016 9:20 am

Thanks Sir.
As I understand it, The Tropo warm zone was theorized to be caused by a positive feedback from water vapor and clouds.
It’s not there so – No positive water feedback, so – no global warming from CO2.
Observations of temps would suggest a negative feedback (a stabilizer) is present.
CO2 up of late, yet no coincidental warming.
Earth’s atmosphere is a stable system.

Dave Fair
Reply to  Donald L. Klipstein
November 21, 2016 9:49 am

Please note that average CMIP5 model hindcasts of the early 21st Century still ran hot. Modelers had to do that or CAGW was in real jeopardy. Even to the IPCC AR5 boys that disconnect was so incredulous that they had to use “expert judgement” to cool off the early prediction years. The out-years were still CAGW, naturally.

Reply to  Donald L. Klipstein
November 21, 2016 9:49 am

The water vapor and cloud albedo feedbacks seem positive to me, but less so than usually modeled. I think the sum of these two should be close to or a little less than the feedback figure for the water vapor feedback alone calculated for constant relative humidity. Positive feedback does not necessarily make the climate unstable.

David Chappell
November 21, 2016 7:00 am

“Still, the simulations themselves must be based on real observations and measurements to make them as accurate as possible…”
That’s a bold assumption and not something I’d put money on

November 21, 2016 7:02 am

First of all the BASIS for AGW theory is wrong . Secondly major volcanic activity has been non existent since 1992 and if/when it does commence which should be sooner or later AGW which does not exist to begin with will do nothing to stop cooling for that source.
Everything this theory has predicted from a +AO evolving over time to a lower tropospheric hot spot , to decreasing OLR has failed to come about. If the BASICS a theory is based on are wrong it follows the theory is wrong .
The distribution of warm and cold temperatures across the globe is wrong as well as the magnitude of the rise as called for by this theory. In addition the decline in global temperatures has now set in and will be accelerating gong forward putting an end to this theory.
In addition this period of time in the climate is in no way unique.
My theory (in a nutshell) is 1000x better then AGW theory . My theory is based on the following: Which is weak solar/geomagnetic fields when in sync IF the degree of duration and magnitude of change is long/strong enough will push the terrestrial items that govern the climate into a cooling mode.
Terrestrial items
sea surface temperatures
major volcanic activity
global cloud coverage
global snow coverage
global sea ice coverage
atmospheric circulation pattern changes
oceanic current changes
Before this decade is out this trash theory will be trashed.

Reply to  Salvatore del Prete
November 21, 2016 11:06 am

“In addition the decline in global temperatures has now set in and will be accelerating gong forward putting an end to this theory.”
I’m sorry but it appears you haven’t been paying attention. Firstly it isn’t a theory and please don’t promote a failed hypothesis up to the dizzy heights of theory. Secondly there are enough gaping fissures and failed predictions in the hypothesis already to completely and forever bury it and yet that has had no effect whatsoever. All that has happened is that the mountebanks have changed the branding to the forever unfalsifiable and unscientific ‘climate change’. I really don’t know what makes you think that a simple thing like global cooling is going to make them admit defeat.
They cannot admit that they were wrong. Never. It doesn’t matter if the ice sheets are grinding up 5th Avenue because that will be caused by human co2 too and that’s settled science and an end of the debate. The climate is changing and they said it would change and therefore what we observe is entirely consistent with cagw.
With apologies to the Christians amongst you it’s like the old scenario where someone invents a time machine, goes back to Judea in the time of Christ and finds that Jesus was just some guy who annoyed the Romans. On returning with his evidence it would not make the slightest difference to present day Christianity.
Please do not think that there is any physical evidence which will deflect this carbon religion by so much as a nanometer. All we can hope for is that the public completely lose interest and the authorities stop funding it so that it eventually becomes just some obscure cult but they will never, ever in this world admit that it isn’t true and that they were wrong.

Joel O’Bryan
November 21, 2016 7:24 am

In Hollywood, computer model outputs are called computer-generated animations, such as superheros that can fly through the air with only a thought, etc.
Fantasies that entertain from computer outputs, that all this is too.

Lee Osburn
Reply to  Joel O’Bryan
November 21, 2016 8:23 am

This study is begging us to believe that the upper atmosphere (stratisphere) has some sort of control of the lower zones. And as everyone seems to believe that they used some sort of data to produce it.
Lets assume that they have used some of their own assumptions (maybe they know something that we don’t)
After monitoring this sort of stuff for sometimes now, i can see that there must be some sort of interaction between that “way up place” where it is hard to obtain data. Maybe some speculations are in order. What ifs.
Let say that we were able to inject carbon dioxide into that “way up space” of our atmosphere where the sun is bearing down 24/7. And let us assume that that carbon dioxide provides that boost in temperature way up there. Would it by any definition cause the ground level atmosphere to change in pressure, temperature, and relative humidity?
Now, lets say they have conducted experiments way up there and they are 97% confident that by doing so have seen that by injecting carbon dioxide “way up there” it someway causes the enormous amount of volcanic arisols to not block the sun as it would have.
I would really like to know if they have conducted these experiments. Other wise, it is just weather anomolies that are triggered by sun anomolies. I can see that their goal to prove that models are better than experiments.
Me think they are grabbing straws, invisible ones at that.
I hope they get Trumped.

November 21, 2016 7:44 am

As the world warms, the troposphere will expand, and the tropopause will move to a higher altitude. But the surface will warm and increased greenhouse gases will make the tropopause cooler. If convective storms increase, then convection to the tropopause is occurring more easily despite higher altitude of the tropopause. If convective storms stay the same, then ease of convection to the tropopause is staying the same. If those saying climate change will make hurricanes, tornadoes and thunderstorms worse, but make it more difficult for a volcanic plume to reach the stratosphere, then I think they are trying to have things both ways.

Keith J
Reply to  Donald L. Klipstein
November 21, 2016 1:20 pm

Not so fast there..IF less than ideal gases ( like carbon dioxide) are more efficient insulators, the temperature gradient should increase. So would lapse rate which is the governing definition of the troposphere.
So-called greenhouse gases do not inhibit radiative heat transfer EXCEPT at the surface. The reason for the three primary layers of the atmosphere is the non linearity of heat transfer with respect to altitude.

Green Sand
November 21, 2016 7:53 am

Best negotiate an accord limiting volcanic activity to night time.

Richard M
November 21, 2016 8:01 am

Most volcanic cones extend several thousand feet high. This would seem to avoid the worst part of this potential problem. In addition, since the stratosphere is suppose to cool, any aerosols making it that high should have an easier time going higher. This would extend the time it takes for them to precipitate out. In essence, a smaller effect but over a longer time.
Now add in the fact that only tropical volcanic eruptions appear to have global effects and significant cooling. Isn’t the Tropics already warmer? Isn’t this area suppose to warm the least?
Don’t know if any of these factors were included in their model but I doubt it.

November 21, 2016 8:03 am

“Why not send a few weather balloons through volcanic plumes at different latitudes and different times of year, to actually measure the impact of different atmospheric conditions on the formation of volcanic stratospheric aerosols?”
Because with real data, the CAGW theme goes down the tubes? Nah. LIV’s/indoctrinated kids will call the facts BS and carry on believing in pixie dust and unicorn farts. Kill all the unicorns!!!! Oh,wait.

November 21, 2016 8:14 am

> why did the researchers base their study on a model?
Because it’s cheaper and quicker. Models have become so popular because they are a means to and end: mass-producing meaningless papers that nevertheless are published and score points in academia anyway.

Keith J
Reply to  ducard
November 21, 2016 4:43 pm

All models are wrong. Some models are useful.
The models used by CAGW acolytes are data swamps fit to a predisposed conclusion from assumptions of positive feedback loops. This is contrary to observed logic on the basis of relative stability necessary for life and evolution. IOW, catastrophic change would prevent evolution. Evolution is faster for extant species than climate change. Or evolution was too slow for extinct species barring external catastrophic events like K-T…
To make a dynamic model, one must know the mechanics. As in Keppler-Copercinus solar system model. What the CAGW acolytes are doing is parallel to the complex earth centered solar system model. Almost as bad as flat earthists.

Hot under the collar
November 21, 2016 8:33 am

A more honest, practical study would be ‘How much more likely am I to receive funding and get published if I use the words Global Warming or Climate Change in the title’.

November 21, 2016 9:01 am

Why is there no research/development on how to inject aerosols into the atmosphere? Let’s have an antidote ready if global warming becomes a concern.

Reply to  duwayne
November 21, 2016 9:48 am

“Why is there no research/development on how to inject aerosols into the atmosphere”
We used to.
Then it got blamed for causing acid rain so we stopped.

November 21, 2016 9:09 am

CO2, the magical gas. Is there anything it can’t do?

Bob Hoye
November 21, 2016 9:33 am

CAGW is a promotion, as defined by the saying from the old and dreadful Vancouver Stock Exchange.
“In the beginning the promoter has the vision and the public has the money.
At the end of the promotion, the promoter has the money and the public has the vision.”

November 21, 2016 10:15 am

Oh look, another positive feedback “found” in the models. Armchair model science is easy-peazy.

November 21, 2016 10:29 am

So, will CO2 save us from the next glacial advance? I wish…

November 21, 2016 10:30 am

I thought that global cooling would raise the air pressure and thus prevent volcanic eruptions altogether…/sarc

November 21, 2016 10:57 am

Desperation makes scientists do and say unusual things

Clyde Spencer
November 21, 2016 6:48 pm

It strikes me that this is another example of a ‘study’ that mutates a possibility into a probability, without benefit of real-world measurements or even a thought experiment as a sanity check. If what they are proposing (a positive feedback loop) were likely, then at some point in the past 4.5 billion years when the world was much warmer, then a so-called Tipping Point would have been reached and we wouldn’t be around to throw stones at the idea. As an example, during the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum the temperatures were higher than what is forecast for AGW in the next 100 years. It was followed by a period of extensive volcanism, especially in the Sierra Nevada, and by their thesis, should have been incapable of cooling the Earth. Yet, it cooled! I think that they need to tweak their computer model some more.

Harold Brooks
November 21, 2016 7:35 pm

“Why not send a few weather balloons through volcanic plumes at different latitudes and different times of year, to actually measure the impact of different atmospheric conditions on the formation of volcanic stratospheric aerosols?”
Because there are very few volcanoes that put significant material into the stratosphere, perhaps one every decade. Most eruptions don’t put anything into the stratosphere.

November 22, 2016 2:42 am

The more the fantastic claims derived from computer models fail to materialize in the real world, the more climate scientists have to exaggerate their message to get anyone to pay attention. It’s kind of like volcanoes having to exert more force to push sulfur compounds into the stratosphere. Climate scientist can only wish to get their message to remain in circulation for a year or two. But it precipitates out almost as soon as they shoot it into the blogosphere. Because of a dismal track record, even the most dire message falls flat and is soon forgotten, just as the conclusions of this paper soon will be.

November 22, 2016 4:08 am

Just speed reading it, but it looks like it’s based on multiple models. Their own models of volcanos and 3 CMIP5 GCMs such as: BCC-CSM1.1, CanESM2, MPI-ESM-LR. Their justification for these GCMs is

“… because of the availibility (SIC) of long-term (2005-2300) climate projections outputs with a daily resolution (Table S1)”

I pleased to see they have a time machine able to look 3 centuries into the future. I’m displeased they were not able to put it to better use. It’s a long paper: 68 pages.

November 22, 2016 4:15 am

PS: Why do they call GCM: global climate models (paper abstract). I thought they were general circulation models, according to the lit. crit. army of climate PC-police. Oh, I see Wikipedia now conflates one with the other. But wait: general circulation model is only one kind of global climate model. They can’t be conflated.

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