Ancient Pacific Northwest eruption, blocked out sun, cooled planet

WSU researchers document one of planet’s largest volcanic eruptions

Gases from Inland Northwest blocked out sun, cooling planet

From WASHINGTON STATE UNIVERSITY

PULLMAN, Wash. – Washington State University researchers have determined that the Pacific Northwest was home to one of the Earth’s largest known volcanic eruptions, a millennia-long spewing of sulfuric gas that blocked out the sun and cooled the planet.

The Palouse River in southeastern Washington State drops nearly 200 feet through cliffs of basalt created by scores of lava flows 10 to 16 million years ago. Washington State University researchers have determined that one flow constituted one of the Earth’s largest known volcanic eruptions, a millennia-long spewing of sulfuric gas that blocked out the sun and cooled the planet. CREDIT Dean Hare, WSU Photo Services

Only two other eruptions — the basalt floods of the Siberian Traps and the Deccan Traps — were larger, and they led to two of the Earth’s great extinctions.

“This would have been devastating regionally because of the acid-rain effect from the eruptions,” said John Wolff, a professor in the WSU School of the Environment. “It did have a global effect on temperatures, but not drastic enough to start killing things, or it did not kill enough of them to affect the fossil record.”

The research, which was funded by the National Science Foundation, appears in Geology, the top journal in the field. Starting 16.5 million years ago, they say, vents in southeast Washington and northeast Oregon put out a series of flows that reached nearly to Canada and all the way to the Pacific Ocean. The flows created the Wapshilla Ridge Member of the Grande Ronde Basalt, a kilometer-thick block familiar to travelers in the Columbia Gorge and most of Eastern Washington. The researchers say it is “the largest mapped flood basalt unit on Earth.”

The researchers estimate that, over tens of thousands of years, the floods put out between 242 and 305 billion tons of sulfur dioxide. That’s more than 4,000 times the output of the 1815 Mount Tambora eruption in present-day Indonesia. That eruption blanketed the Earth in an aerosol veil, creating the “Year Without A Summer” and food shortages across the northern hemisphere.

The volume of gas emitted from the Wapshilla Ridge lavas, said the researchers, “is equivalent to a Tambora eruption every day for 11 to 16 years.”

Most of the lava’s gases were released during the eruptions, but some of the gas remained trapped in crystals near the volcanic vents. Klarissa Davis, lead author of the paper, analyzed the gases as part of her doctoral studies. The other authors are Michael Rowe, now at the University of Auckland, and Owen Neill, now at the University of Michigan.

Wolff puts the eruption into one of three classes of cataclysms, the other two being a caldera eruption like the Yellowstone volcano and the impact of an asteroid. A similar eruption today “would devastate modern society globally,” said Wolff.

The eruption also provides an insight into the workings of climate change. It took place in what is known as the Miocene Climactic Optimum, or MCO, when some 50 million years of cooling was interrupted by 5 to 6 degrees Fahrenheit of warming. But at its peak, the MCO had a brief cooling period that coincides with the Wapshilla eruption and its profusion of sulfur dioxide.

Sulfur dioxide is now bandied about as a possible tool for engineering a break in the Earth’s current warming trend, though Wolff is not particularly keen on the idea.

“I personally think that it’s probably a dangerous thing to do without understanding all of the possible consequences,” he said. “But maybe we’re getting an idea of some possible consequences here.”

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88 thoughts on “Ancient Pacific Northwest eruption, blocked out sun, cooled planet

  1. It becomes fairly clear … that The Earth has weathered (how could I pass that up?) a huge assortment of climate-challenging activity. From within, vulcanism and tectonics, and from without – meteors.

    Oh well… it pushes along.
    And we with it.

    • “Sulfur dioxide is now bandied about as a possible tool for engineering a break in the Earth’s current warming trend, though Wolff is not particularly keen on the idea.”

      How can these guys call themselves scientists when they do not even check the basic assumptions of their work or conclusions?

      Also, if a thousand years of sulfur emissions cooled the planet and did not cause extinctions, how does the current century-long warming of 0.6 deg C cause the ongoing claimed extinctions? It makes no sense, as cold is much more of a killer than hot.

      We have not warmed in any statistical way since 1988 and even the warmists agree that the “pause” is since 1998. That in mind, how does the above quote work? Let’s not geo-engineer anything when there is no reason to do it.

      It may be an ego thing to contemplate ways to alter the world using your own knowledge, but to not go out and honestly check the temperature records (thus discovering that they are altered to show warming) is unprofessional.

    • I think The Golden Age of climate was when we didn’t talk about it because we coulldn’t do anything about it!

      • Agreed – and –

        re higley 7;
        “how does the current century-long warming of 0.6 deg C cause the ongoing claimed extinctions?”

        Always ask which animals – or plants – have become extinct.
        Not locally extinct – but utterly extinct [which is, of course, forever]!

        There have been a few, a very few – but how many are due to ‘climate uncertainty’ or whatever today’s meme is?
        Rather than intensive hunting effort [passenger pigeon]; insular speciation and sudden introduction of cats/rats/pigs etc.; hugely aberrant trophy collection [e.g. rhino horns, which apparently increase the ratio of female babies[!]; or habitat destruction – the need to grow more corn to feed – not people, but bio-ethanol plant?
        It could be argued that the Greens’ own push for bio-fuels is the direct cause of the last [and the associated food price rises around the world, leading to insurrection and even rebellion.
        Are the Greens the cause of the mess in Libya? A causative factor, I suggest.

        Auto
        I went to school with John A. Wolff. Many years ago in another part of the Kingdom.

    • I think they’re looking for a quick new Doomsday alternative since AGW isn’t cutting it any more. Drudge has up an article claiming “90%” of Americans would be wiped out be a NorK EMP, and another one claiming the “Great Yellowstone Volcano” could erupt imminently “wiping out everything on earth.” Of course, only a study by two girls no one ever heard of says so . . . but Made Ya Click is the new veracity.

  2. Volcanoes seem to be associated with either subduction zones or semi-fixed “hot spots”. I do not know the geology well enough to tell which this volcano is, even though the Pacific Northwest is currently a subduction zone.

    • Flood basalts aren’t associated with subduction zones, which make volcanic mountain ranges like the Cascades and Andes.

      It’s possible that the Snake River plateau basalts were caused by the Yellowstone hotspot, but unlikely the Columbia Basin flood basalts. Of course more recently the Yellowstone hotspot has produced caldera mega-eruptions.

      • Yes, basalts are usually associated with crustal tension or extension zones where a basin and range province is created, or along mid-ocean ridge spreading centers.

      • The article doesn’t mention the end Triassic CAMP, when rifting of Pangaea first started, with North America separating from Africa and Europe to form the Central Atlantic.

        The Columbia Plateau basalts are remarkably thick. There might be some connection with the Basin and Range Province, but Nevada too is, rather surprisingly, above a crustal hotspot.

      • The Hudson Pallisades basalt cliffs are part of the Central Atlantic Magmatic Province.

        There was a big extinction event at the Triassic-Jurassic boundary.

        IMO the mid-Miocene temporary reversal of cooling was caused by the geologically brief shoaling of the Drake Passage, as a small plate moved through, interrupting the deep oceanic circulation, leading to a retreat of the Antarctic ice sheets.

      • Tom Halla is overlooking rifts in his list of volcanic activity.

        At the relative time of the Wapshilla Ridge eruption, Yellowstone’s hotspot and outlet was some 300 miles south of the Wapshilla Ridge lavas location.

        That does not rule out Yellowstone’s hotspot immense magma chamber fueling both sites; but does complicate easily associating the two eruption centers.

        Yellowstone’s hotspot path:

        Wapshilla Ridge’s location:

        “WSU researchers sampled sulfur dioxide trapped in rock near lava vents to gauge how much gas was put in the air by massive basalt flows 16.5 million years ago. The inset map shows the extent of the flows, with the region in the black line showing the Wapshilla Ridge flow that emitted more than 200 billion tons of sulfur dioxide. Credit: WSU”

    • The link is to the Yellowstone Hot spot.
      I think it is explained in this video:

      Title: Liberty Gold and the Yellowstone Hotspot

      I don’t want to watch this now, but I think the YHS was off the (now) Washington State coast about 50 M years ago. WA and OR have been growing and moving around since then.
      Nick Zentner, CWU geologist, has dozens of things on the web, including the “2 Minute Geology” set. This one is a full hour filmed in downtown Ellensburg, for the public. Mostly older folks show up.

  3. Wow. A moment of clarity re geoengineering.

    “I personally think that it’s probably a dangerous thing to do without understanding all of the possible consequences,” he said.

    • Yes, I noted that refreshingly sensible comment too and it earns respect as opposed to the dangerous maniacs proposing all sorts of dangerous attempts at geo -engineering when they have no idea of what the consequences might be.

  4. The press release apparently said, “It did have a global effect on temperatures, but not drastic enough to start killing things, or it did not kill enough of them to affect the fossil record.”

    However, Wikipedia [ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Middle_Miocene_disruption ] says, “The Middle Miocene disruption is considered a significant extinction event and has been analyzed in terms of the importance of there being a possible periodicity between extinction events.”

    The statement about “50 million years of cooling” is a little unclear as to what was meant exactly, but I think that what was intended was to acknowledge that temperatures have been declining since the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum 50 million years ago, with an upward bump in the decline during the middle of the Miocene.

    • It appears that the mid-Eocene was even hotter than the PETM, but yes, the reference must be to the dramatic global cooling since then, only briefly interrupted during the Miocene. Cooling picked up apace when deep oceanic currents opened between Antarctica and South America and Australia, at the Eocene-Oligocene boundary. CO2 dropped as a result, not as a primary cause of the pronounced cooling.

  5. over tens of thousands of years, the floods put out between 242 and 305 billion tons of sulfur dioxide.

    The volume of gas emitted from the Wapshilla Ridge lavas, said the researchers, “is equivalent to a Tambora eruption every day for 11 to 16 years.”

    Not sure where they are going with this comparison. 5840 days of Tambora eruptions, but spread out over tens of thousands of years. What would the ambient SO2 be at any one time?

    • Aye, Jaun Slayton!

      Checking over a different news release and abstract: “Sulfur release from main-phase Columbia River Basalt eruptions

      Where a slightly different phrasing and description gives better and more confusing detail.

      “…The magmatic S contents in the very voluminous (~40,000 km3) Wapshilla Ridge Member scale up to 242–305 Gt SO2 release to the atmosphere over a maximum time period of 94 k.y…”

      242,000,000,000 to 305,000,000,000 tons SO2 emitted over 94,000 years; gives a different impression than the vague press release.
      That’s roughly 2.6 million to 3.2 million tons of SO2 per year

      In 2009, satellite tracking of SO2 emissions from one particular volcanic area, identified 3.13Tg SO2. That works out to 3,130 metric tons per year (3,443 tons Avoirdupois)

      2.6 to 3.2 million tons SO2 per year is significant, coming from one volcano.

    • Thank you Juan. My thoughts too.

      There are plenty of other cations than protons alone in nature, especially in the vicinity of a massive volcano. The chances are sulphur rained down as dilute, pH neutral salt and spread gently a bit everywhere over tens of thousands of years. The evolution took care of the rest. Might even explain why sulphur deficiency is nowadays a concern even on the other side of the planet.

      https://www.agric.wa.gov.au/sites/gateway/files/styles/original/public/lupinS_oldest_leaf.jpg?itok=Ihi8IXpE

      Image is the courtesy of Department of Agriculture and Food in West Australia for diagnosing sulphur deficiency in narrow-leafed lupins.

      • Over the past fifty years the reduction in sulphur emissions from industry and power generation has led to sulphur deficiency in many farm soils.
        Sulphate ions are leached from soils over the winter at much the same rate as nitrate ions.
        Many farmers have to use fertilisers with added sulphur as a first dressing in the spring in order for crops to give decent yields.

    • I caught that as well. They should have compacted it down to one day, “5,480 Tambora eruptions in a single day!” to make it sound more sensational.

  6. … a millennia-long spewing of sulfuric gas that blocked out the sun and cooled the planet.

    My prepper friends are going to have trouble dealing with that.

  7. Only two other eruptions — the basalt floods of the Siberian Traps and the Deccan Traps — were larger, and they led to two of the Earth’s great extinctions

    Er, no.

    http://www.largeigneousprovinces.org/ has a database of massive magmatic events, which says that the Columbia River event, which is what these guys are talking about, covered an area of 164,000 km² and erupted lava with a total volume of 175,000 km³

    Well the nice folks at largeigneousprovinces list 11 events with areas between 250,000 and 1,000,000 km², and another 13 events with areas of more than 1,000,000 km², the largest being the Central Atlantic Magmatic Province at 7,000,000 km². Volumes (which aren’t always estimated due to incomplete preservation) are up to 9,000,000 km³ (Kerguelen event).

    Unless I’m missing something, these guys at Washington State have studied their local event and have failed to put it into a global perspective.

    Also – on the issue of volcanic events and mass extinctions, the LIP database lists six events bigger than the Deccan and Siberian Traps, which did not coincide with mass extinctions. Inconvenient facts for the alarmist faction.

    • Unless I’m missing something, these guys at Washington State have studied their local event and have failed to put it into a global perspective.

      Looks like it, but may have failed even locally, just outside their competence. Sulfur and potassium deficiency could be reducing alfalfa yields according to soil fertility specialist at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and in Chippewa and Eau Claire County, Wis:

      • Sulfur and potassium deficiency could be reducing alfalfa yields

        The US is not the only place.
        In the UK, and I know because I’ve been-there & done-that, extra sulphur supplied in a sack is a potent fertiliser.
        In my case for 2nd and 3rd cut grass forage crops. (Silage)
        The soil accumulates enough through winter for the 1st cut of silage but subsequent crops the same year respond *very* well to extra S.
        Ah you say, that’s how ‘fallowing’ came about…

        Extra sulphur is mandatory for anyone growing oilseed in the UK.

        I’ve said before, volcanoes are veritable fountains of ambrosia, they are Manna From Heaven if you you are of the plant kingdom.

        Not just volcanoes.
        Is it true that farmers in Germany in the 1920’s were gutted when the ever efficient Germans dumped steam trains and electrified their railways?
        The farmers had, for a long time, worked out that the smoke, ash, soot, general smut and other ‘pollution’ coming off the engines was fertilising their fields & crops.

      • Don’t tell Michael Mann. He’ll be cutting down alfalfa stalks to count the rings and create a whole new kerfuffle in a teapot.

      • Interesting that Jaakkokateenkorva is mentioning that sulfur deposits could be a fertilizer.

        This is strictly anecdotal, but there is a major ore-processing plant in eastern France, which twice daily pours sulfuric acid on mineral ores in order to extract reactive metals from the ores. This process generates heat, and causes large amounts of steam and SO2 to be vented up a high stack.

        Overlooking the ore-processing plant, about a mile away on a steep hill, slightly above the height of the top of the stack, is a vineyard. A friend of mine with a wine-tasting hobby reported that wine from that vineyard fetches a high premium because the sulfurous acid emissions from the ore-processing plant are carried by the wind onto the vineyard and greatly improve the quality of the wine produced.

        One man’s trash is another man’s treasure…

    • There are some interesting rules about LIP:s and extinction events:

      Underwater LIP:s never cause extinction events (but perhaps OAE:s, Ocean Anoxic Events).

      No post-Triassic LIP has definitely caused an extinction event (Deccan is a highly uncertain case).

      No Cenozoic LIP has caused even a minor extinction (and the Afar LIP was about 10 times bigger than Columbia River)

  8. Map showing these Columbia River eruptions and the history of Yellowstone as well. Obviously, these were huge events but as Smart Rock said, they are not in the very biggest events.

    Now whether the planet cooled off, I don’t think it shows up in the record. I put the Columbia River eruptions on this chart when I built it several years ago just because it was the biggest volcanic event in the period. Doesn’t show a long-lasting impact although the resolution at this time period is about 5,000 years, so maybe it is too long for the impact to show up.

  9. Something does not compute. The article says:
    “over tens of thousands of years, the floods put out between 242 and 305 billion tons of sulfur dioxide. That’s more than 4,000 times the output of the 1815 Mount Tambora eruption in present-day Indonesia. The volume of gas emitted from the Wapshilla Ridge lavas, said the researchers, “is equivalent to a Tambora eruption every day for 11 to 16 years.”

    But, a Tambora-like eruption EVERY DAY over 10,000 years would emit aerosols equivalent to 365×10,000, or about 3,650,000 TOTAL Tambora eruptions, not 4,000.

  10. Link: Sulfur release from main-phase Columbia River Basalt eruptions
    Klarissa N. Davis; John A. Wolff; Michael C. Rowe; Owen K. Neill, Geology (2017)
    DOI: https://doi.org/10.1130/G39371.1
    Abstract

    The Columbia River Basalt Group (western United States) is Earth’s youngest and best-studied flood basalt province, but attempts to link it with mid-Miocene global change have proven elusive. Part of the difficulty lies in a lack of comprehensive data for volatile emissions from the most intense main phase of activity. We present measurements of sulfur contents in magmas that erupted to form the Wapshilla Ridge Member and associated units of the Grande Ronde Basalt, the most voluminous portion of the Columbia River Basalt Group, erupted at the time of peak magma flux. We sampled melt inclusions and host glasses preserved in near-vent phreatomagmatic deposits associated with the voluminous lavas. Sulfur contents of melt inclusions range up to 0.19 wt% S, while host glasses are variably degassed with 0.01–0.13 wt% S. Incomplete degassing of glassy lapilli is attributed to phreatomagmatic quenching in the vent. The magmatic S contents in the very voluminous (~40,000 km3) Wapshilla Ridge Member scale up to 242–305 Gt SO2 release to the atmosphere over a maximum time period of 94 k.y. The time of the eruption is close to that of a global temperature drop near the peak of the Miocene Climatic Optimum, but refinement of eruption tempo is needed before a cause-and-effect relation can be established.

    https://gsapubs.org/geology/article-abstract/doi/10.1130/G39371.1/516670/sulfur-release-from-main-phase-columbia-river?redirectedFrom=PDF

  11. So the CO2 emitted had little effect. Other than it’s life enabling properties… CO2 is a bit player… in climate. GK

    • Must the first press release on such a subject which manages to get all the way through without mentioning CO2.

      Some sanity slowly returning?

      • They didn’t mention CO2 by name, but they did discuss using sulfer dioxide to counteract the current warming.

  12. The Greatest Human Being Eveh To Be Born To Earth … Albert P. Gore Jr. will retort … “Bu … BuBu …. Bu … BuBUBu …. I AM STILL THE GREATEST HUMAN TO EVAH BE BORN TO EARTH … GOD DAM EARTH AND ALL HUMANS TO HELL…!”

    Ha ha

  13. A millennia long basaltic lava eruption, seasoned with SO2 gas….. Hmmm.
    Sounds like this was one of those periods of ‘stable climate’ the AGW folks want us to emulate.

  14. Of course a millennium or two of sulphuric acid emissions didn’t acidify the sea or lakes and streams because it was natural. Apparently the fishes loved it.

    Actually sulphur is an essential plant nutrient. In eastern Ontario, our farm well was in black shales and we had natural gas and what locally was called sulphur water, pretty stinky but you got used to it and it made the best coffee (lousy tea) Ive ever tasted. Crops were high yield, alfalfa grew wonderfully, our lambs and pigs were big and excellent quality, locally attributed to sulphur in the soil.

    My kids remarkably had no cavities in their teeth, and I believe that true today in their forties and fifties. Anyone else hear of such a thing?

    • I always thought the tea was OK if you rinsed the salt from the ice and added unhealthy amounts of sugar. Our grove foreman drank unaereated, unfiltered sulphur water most of his life. Did him in at 95. Could have been the daily plug of Days Work chewing tobacco though. He only put his teeth in on Sunday so can’t say about the cavities.

    • Many areas in Northern Florida have high amounts of fluoride in groundwater. Kids from these areas dont generally get cavities. Downside, some areas with very high fluoride, can darken the tooth enamel.

    • Our family in SE Wi had well water. Perfect teeth all around even if the raised elsewhere parents didn’t. Not sure if sulfur was in the water though. I always attributed it to the visible iron and perhaps fluorine.

  15. I’m disappointed. The Devil’s Post Pile was not brought up anywhere in this discourse.

    I am sad.

    Yes, I do know it’s not flood basalts, It’s just a big old volcanic plug. But it’s such a unique old pile of columnar basalt, like the Giant’s Causeway leading into the Atlantic from the coast of Cornwall. I’m always intrigued by how such things form.

    However, it’s a mistake to think that only the lava flows cause extinctions. There are several in North America, such as the eruption that formed the Huckleberry Ridge tuff. I think Orchard Bluff was another. I can look them up, but the point is that they also caused extinctions.

    • The last time I stood on it, the Giant’s Causeway was on the coast of County Antrim in Northern Ireland. There are however some impressive sheeted dyke complexes in Cornwall.

  16. Intriguing, if very assumptive research paper.

    The authors claim

    “The magmatic S contents in the very voluminous (~40,000 km3) Wapshilla Ridge Member scale up to 242–305 Gt SO2 release to the atmosphere over a maximum time period of 94 k.y.”

    Or rephrased as “roughly 2.6 million to 3.2 million tons of SO2 per year”

    What is intriguing is that the authors do not mention CO2.

    In a volcanic eruption, gaseous emissions are H2O, CO2, with the acidic gases (SO2, HCl. HF) lumped together as a total.

    One study of a basaltic magma volcano “Degassing dynamics of basaltic lava lake at a top-ranking volatile emitter: Ambrym volcano, Vanuatu arc“, Lists emission totals that break down into these rough percentages:
    H2O 89.9%
    CO2 5.6%
    (SO2, HCl, HF) 4.5%

    Another study of different magmatic emissions; “Chapter 7, Emissions from volcanoes
    Christiane Textor, Hans-F. Graf, Claudia Timmreck, Alan Robock”
    identifies the following rough percentages:
    H2O 50% to 90%/vol
    CO2 1% to 40%/vol
    SO2 1% to 25%/vol

    Yet the authors apparently avoid the larger CO2 emissions over that 94,000 years topic. Could not link it to warming, perhaps?

  17. In the continuation of my ‘glucose’ rants and what it is to have ’empathy’

    We’re told here that SOx causes Global Cooling
    But another scientist will jump up and tell you that SOx is a Green House Gas and causes warming.
    OK…..
    We all (should) know from our school educations that SOx has an epic affinity for water – eg and ie: you add concentrated acid to water, not vice versa unless you wanna blow your own face off.

    That’s fine, sulphur oxide gas in the atmosphere will attract water and make tiny droplets. These are called aerosols and we’re told that they cool.

    Hang on hang on hang on.
    Clouds, the ordinary sort that OI’ Ma Nature makes are made of tiny water droplets and we’re told that clouds cause warming. Everybody ‘knows’ how toasty and warm it gets when its cloudy
    (sigh, but you didn’t hear it ok?)

    Now to Empathy and someone who has shed loads of it, by the simple virtue of being tee-total and not especially overweight. Also endows one with a clear head, quick wit and good memory.

    Good for you, got it in one, Mr Donald Trump
    Is anyone going to argue that empathy (the understanding of ‘the other person’s position & thinking) is utterly vital for the business of ‘deal making’? The business in which Mr Trump excels.

    Mr Trump is not a scientist but, hundreds if not 1000’s will have been in his company over the years, formally and informally and 97% (you DID see that coming I hope) will have tried to convince him of the science of Global Climate Warming Change.
    And countless other bleeding hearts and general hangers on.

    ‘In his company’ is the important part
    My assertion (and the principle of the L1e Detector) is the the human animal cannot ‘pass off untruths’
    It can try but its a discomforting thing

    And THAT is what Mr Trump, endowed with the quick wit, clear head, good memory and empathy that he has (and the rest of us should have) picked up on.

    He could just ‘tell’ that all these people were telling a ‘wrong thing’ and were trying to explain something that they themselves didn’t understand.
    He could sense & know that from body language, turn of phrase, eye contact, pupil size, folded arms, fidgeting etc etc
    This ability to ‘see right through people’ and ‘read them like a book’ is entirely why the perjurers, fakers and evaders of this world (that’s most of the MSM and climate scientists) don’t like the guy. He sees them for exactly what they are – muddle headed yet sensationalist and attention-seeking children.

    And he sees, he just knows and as clear as clear can be *and* without knowing or doing a teeny tiny bit of science, that Global Warming is a hoax.

    We should all know that – why don’t we?

    • Peta of Newark:
      “…In the continuation of my ‘glucose’ rants and what it is to have ’empathy’…”
      and your previous sulphur to silage observation..

      Nice insertion of practical reallity into the discussion, a bit of yeast in the otherwise unleavened dough of academic studies so to speak!
      Thank you!
      Bahamamike

    • The reason climate science alarmists pounding on about CO2 emissions is wrong, is because those alarmists make many serious mistakes, and now have gained power and prestige, and are too filled with hubris to take the criticisms of these mistakes seriously. They’ve become a rent-seeking “special interest” whose livelihoods are promoted by their alarmist products. What mistakes, you may ask? They mistake a bit of temporary buffering variability for fundamental inputs to the system as a whole. They mistake climate model outputs for physical evidence. They ignore real evidence that CO2 is not the primary climate driver and that clouds and sunlight are. They seem to want to be continually ignorant about the real carbon cycle of the Earth’s biosphere and are incapable of seeing life itself as an agent that continually consumes and benefits greatly from atmospheric CO2. While I will admit that the benefits to Earth’s biosphere by way of mankind’s return of this foundational building block of life into the air has been accidental, nevertheless, it is a fortuitous mistake. In the Malthusian view, if that’s one’s bent, one must understand that CO2 is a resource that was limited, and is now much less limited. We need more of it, not less of it. And we certainly don’t need to cripple our economy to reduce it.

      That’s what we ALL need to understand, Donald Trump, included.

  18. Monitoring network of the National Geographic Institute (IGN – Canaries) has recorded a total of 50 earthquakes since last Saturday on the island of La Palma attributed to Cumbre Vieja dormant volcano (recent eruptions in 1949 and 1971).
    It is thought that collapse of the western ridge of Cumbre Vieja would cause a “mega-tsunami” that would hit the eastern coast of North America in about 6 hours, with waves of up to 30 meters (100ft) high, reaching 10-15 miles inland.
    Few years ago BBC Horizon investigated hypothesis and possible consequences of such event. Some scientists think that such claims are exaggerated, however Boston, New York and smaller coastal cities and towns may be affected.

  19. “Sulfur dioxide is now bandied about as a possible tool for engineering a break in the Earth’s current warming trend”
    I’ve always said if they’re going to do that, they should just deregulate coal-fired plants.

  20. Please tell me that all of this geological information is built in to the climate models. For bonus points tell me how the climate models cope with the uncertainty as to when the next big bang will occur.

    I won’t hold my breath though. The modellers have only just discovered clouds.

  21. “That’s more than 4,000 times the output of the 1815 Mount Tambora eruption”

    That sounds big, but in the sentence before, it indicates that this eruption over ten’s of thousands of years.
    On a per year basis, this would be much smaller than Tabora.

  22. Seems like a case of having your cake and eating it too. I was just reading about how eruption of these huge volumes of basalt lava were postulated to have caused global warming from the CO2 (even though CO2 always lags warming)–now the huge eruptions are supposed to have caused global cooling!

  23. “This would have been devastating regionally because of the acid-rain effect from the eruptions,” said John Wolff, a professor in the WSU School of the Environment.

    Utter bullcrap — he doesn’t know that & nobody does. Where’s any evidence of acid-rain effects? This is just going w/the CAGW meme — to support acid-rain scaremongering. The “devastation” is far simpler — cold, dry weather from the stratospheric dust disrupting/devastating the food chain. Far less powerful but similar event happened around 535 AD. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Extreme_weather_events_of_535%E2%80%93536

  24. Just please some of you erudite scientists and geologists let me know when it’s time to take a seat under the flagpole with a big bottle of Jack, OK? ;-)

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