Iceland’s monster volcano charging up for eruption

The Katla volcano, hidden beneath the ice cap of Mýrdalsjökull glacier in Iceland, has historically erupted violently once every 40-80 years.  In-as-much as it’s last such eruption took place one hundred years ago, in 1918, Katla’s next eruption is long overdue.

AN ICE CAULDRON IN MÝRDALSJÖKULL Geothermal activity in the volcano’s caldera melts the glacier, creating cauldrons in the ice. Photo/Fréttablaðið

An eruption in Katla would dwarf the 2010 Eyjafjallajökull eruption, scientists have warned.

A new study by Icelandic and British geologists showed that Katla is emitting enormous quantities of CO2 – at least 20 kilotons of CO2 every day. Only two volcanoes worldwide are known to emit more CO2, Evgenia Ilyinskaya a volcanologist with the University of Leeds told the Icelandic National Broadcasting Service RÚV.

These enormous CO2 emissions confirm significant activity in the volcano, Evgenia told RÚV: “There must also be a magma build up to release this quantity of gas.”

“It is well known from other volcanoes,” said Evgenia, “that CO2 emissions increase weeks or years ahead of eruptions. This is a clear sign we need to keep a close eye on Katla…. there is something going on.”

The largest glacial flood in Iceland’s history occurred in the  beginning of the Katla eruption in 1918. Tales of this flood  are terrifying. Although it was a thick mixture of meltwater, volcanic ash, and ice, it advanced so fast that one could  only escape its path on horseback. It covered hundreds of square kilometers; today such a flood would destroy the Iceland ring road and many important facilities in the south of the country.


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September 20, 2018 1:13 am

Katla is a big volcano, but the real volcanic “monsters” on Iceland are the big fissure eruptions like Eldgjá in 934 and Laki in 1783.

Iceland is the only place in the world where large fissure eruptions have occurred in historical times. The LIP (Large Igneous Provinces) eruptions that have caused mass extinctions in the past were all fissure eruptions.

Moderately Cross of East Anglia
Reply to  tty
September 20, 2018 1:30 am

Well TTY you’ve cheered us all up with that comment, hope you have a nice day too!

Presumably volcanic CO2 must be of an entirely different kind to that produced by human effort. I expect that the alarmists will be rushing to position CO2 monitors as near to the fissures as possible so as to stoke up their never seen before levels or something or other.

I always wondered about taking readings for entire hemispheres from the slope of very active volcanoes and assume atmospheric mixing was near perfect.

Reply to  Moderately Cross of East Anglia
September 20, 2018 1:55 am

Moderately Cross of East Anglia

That’s wouldn’t be a dig at Mauna Loa, one of the largest volcano’s on earth, with a CO2 monitoring station located on it, would it? 🙂

Y. Knott
Reply to  HotScot
September 20, 2018 2:48 am

We MUST!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! stop volcanoes pumping-out large quantities of CO2! No effort is too large or expensive – we have to SAAAAAVE THE EARTH!!!!!!

/sarc, in case it’s needed…

Crispin in Waterloo
Reply to  Y. Knott
September 20, 2018 4:35 am

You forgot to mention “the children”.

Those three volcanoes put out more CO2 than the domestic energy needs of Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan combined. They should be forced to buy offsets worth $1 billion per year. If you spray, you pay.

What about sulphur compounds – is a volcano, or that one, net cooling? Is that with or without the eruption?

michael hart
Reply to  Y. Knott
September 20, 2018 5:39 am

Don’t worry. I’m sure the BBC is already working on articles promoting a new Volcano Tax.

Reply to  Y. Knott
September 20, 2018 11:06 am

I have a large cork if it any help……

Reply to  Y. Knott
September 20, 2018 1:37 pm

You need to get Gov Jerry Brown on it Makes as much sense to stop a volcano as it is to build a bullet train to nowhere

Sam Pyeatte
Reply to  Y. Knott
September 20, 2018 1:46 pm

I think a lawsuit by the greens against the volcano is in order; sort of a cease and desist order. Maybe they can put a large camp of zealots on the lip of the volcano demanding it not erupt; then the rest of us pray for an explosive eruption.

Reply to  Y. Knott
September 21, 2018 8:33 pm

We need a volcano tax.

Alan the Brit
Reply to  HotScot
September 20, 2018 5:25 am

I think you’ll find it’s the largest volcano of it’s kind on the visible surface of the Earth, although I believe there other larger ones beneath the waves!

Reply to  HotScot
September 20, 2018 8:34 am

I suspect it is, however Mauna Loa supposedly only takes CO2 readings when the sensors are upwind from the vented gasses.

Steven Mosher
Reply to  HotScot
September 20, 2018 10:58 pm

I hate stupid people who cannot even remember the posts made here by the one and only willis

WHAT IS IT with you people?

Reply to  Steven Mosher
September 21, 2018 9:11 am

Great link. Settle down though.

Jeff in Calgary
Reply to  Steven Mosher
September 21, 2018 3:15 pm

I think the biggest problem is that we now know CO2 isn’t as well mixed as previously thought. Taking readings at a single location can’t give us an overall average.

Reply to  Moderately Cross of East Anglia
September 20, 2018 9:27 am

But OCO-2 confirms the Mauna Loa readings, doesn’t it?

Joel O'Bryan
Reply to  Retired_Engineer_Jim
September 20, 2018 7:37 pm

MLO readings are part of the calibration for OCO-2 measurements.
Confirming what you are calibrated against would be circular.

Climate science would never engage in circular reasoning.

Bemused Bill
Reply to  Moderately Cross of East Anglia
September 20, 2018 3:18 pm

For a good laugh see Suzukis hysterical Chicken Little blathering’s re Pinatubo at the time. In fact if anyone has that at hand I’d love a link?

Ron Long
Reply to  tty
September 20, 2018 3:03 am

tty, all of the volcanic activity on Iceland is associated with the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, wherein the Atlantic Plate is spreading under the influence of upwelling basaltic magma. Fissure eruption refers to the physical conduit the basalt exits, it could also exit through cinder cones, flow-domes, etc. The world’s LIP’s are associated with both over-riding hotspots and spreading ridges. I wonder why they are not monitoring micro-seismic events as charging a magma chamber prior to an eruption produces pulsating micro-seismic events? The cracks at Katla associated with caldera formation would be open to a depth before plastic deformation sets in, so could be a conduit for escaping gasses.

Robert W Turner
Reply to  tty
September 20, 2018 7:55 am

I’m not really buying that LIPs have caused any mass extinctions.

Reply to  Robert W Turner
September 20, 2018 9:54 am

Some are associated temporally with extinction events but not all. It is a interesting concept but far from scientifically proven that these temporal associations are directly linked. LIP cover a huge variety of rock types (mafic to silicic) and emplacements modes (sub-sea – continental). There is some indication that mass volcanism (not necessarily LIPs) may be linked to mass extinctions (end-Permian, end-Triassic, and perhaps the end-Cretaceous, for example) there is no obvious link between total volume of lava erupted and and extinction magnitude. Evidence for the LIP link to ME is pretty fuzzy. It’s hard trying to link events that happened many 10’s to 100’s of MY in the past. The published literature on the subject is interesting.

Reply to  tty
September 20, 2018 9:00 am

I can’t remember exact numbers (posting this from a mobile) , since 1500 Iceland had about 3% of global land eruptions but produced about 30% of total tephra (lava, rocks, ash etc) ejected worldwide.

September 20, 2018 1:16 am

“Only two volcanoes worldwide are known to emit more CO2, Evgenia Ilyinskaya a volcanologist with the University of Leeds told the Icelandic National Broadcasting Service RÚV.”

Aren’t there 90 or so recently discovered volcano’s under the Antarctic ice cap?

I wonder how the volcanologist’s measure the CO2 output from them?

No sarcasm intended.

Patrick Powers
Reply to  HotScot
September 20, 2018 1:40 am

By using several different forms of mass spectrometry to analyse and estimate the volumes of the different gases in individual columns of the atmosphere above the volcano. The most abundant gas is water vapor (H2O), followed by carbon dioxide (CO2), and sulfur dioxide (SO2). Secondary gases are also commonly emitted from volcanoes and include hydrogen sulfide (H2S), hydrogen (H), carbon monoxide (CO), hydrogen chloride (HCl), hydrogen fluoride (HF), and helium (He).

Reply to  Patrick Powers
September 20, 2018 2:03 am

Patrick Powers

All accomplished on newly discovered volcano’s residing under a thick ice covering. Amazing.

And forgive me for questioning your excellent list of gases, but doesn’t Nitrogen exist over a volcano?

Reply to  Patrick Powers
September 20, 2018 5:39 am

Ok, you’ve got a concentration. How do you measure the flow rate?

Reply to  HotScot
September 20, 2018 1:54 am

So the volcanologists measure CO2 output in the same way over West Antarctics as over Myrdalsjoekull. I don`t know if the icecap is thinner over Katla, but I think they have their methods.

Reply to  HotScot
September 20, 2018 2:58 am

that number is 131, not 90

September 20, 2018 2:15 am

What was the site that gave the daily volcano activity in Iceland that last time one of them erupted. Anyone have the link?

Mark BLR
Reply to  TomRWorcMaUSA
September 20, 2018 3:42 am

Try this one, gives the last 48 hours of activity.

Lurker Pete
September 20, 2018 2:24 am

I find these type of reports really frustrating, “new study finds blah blah be very afraid” but no context, what was going on before they studied it?

“She points out that more studies are needed to determine if the gas emissions from Katla are stable, or if they are increasing.” but be afraid anyway.

Rich Davis
Reply to  Lurker Pete
September 20, 2018 3:22 am

Well it’s a target-rich environment for the watermelon loons. There are multiple angles to pursue. All that CO2 will OBVIOUSLY cook us even faster—it’s worse than we thought. Or is volcanic activity being enhanced by CAGW? Maybe melting glaciers “uncork” the volcano. That will become a massive positive feedback—tipping point, AAAARRRRGGGGGGHHHHHHH!!

Pop Piasa
Reply to  Rich Davis
September 20, 2018 8:14 am

Send the good doctor one of these

comment image

Lurker Pete
Reply to  Lurker Pete
September 20, 2018 3:39 am

That’s an hour of my life I won’t get back!

They take measurements from a fully instrumented aircraft for atmospheric research, 3 flight paths, 2 in Oct 2016, 1 in Oct 2017, they gridcell the area to get their numbers for background Co2 and flux, do a couple of curve fitting exercises, and some complicated maths. Background Co2 ranges from 400.02 – 406.0, they only report the fluxes in pictorial form with a colour chart so you can’t identify the flux acurately from the supp info, but they do quote the flux from one Gaussian plume approximation, at… wait for it… 3.1, 3.9, & 4.8 ppm after background Co2 concentration has been removed, all at the 95% confidence level.

How on earth all that equates to the scarey headlines is beyond me. Much wow, be very afraid.

supp info here:

Crispin in Waterloo
Reply to  Lurker Pete
September 20, 2018 5:12 am

Thanks Lurker Pete

It save me a lost hour and I will put it to good use caring for service dog puppies. We have 11 at the moment.

I made my own CO2 measurements in the air blowing off the ocean into Jakarta from the NW. It was steady above 525 ppm and frequently above 750 ppm. Sometimes above 800. Detection of 5 ppm above ‘background’ in Iceland tells me nothing.

If there are 1000 natural point sources of 10m tons CO2 p.a. (sea vents, volcanoes, earthquake faults) that is 10 gigatons without considering global natural gas leakage, rotting vegetation, termites, fauna breathing and forest+grass fires. It is amazing that the biome absorbs as much as it does considering winter, polar ice cover and the area of deserts.

My inclination is to assume the natural carbon cycle mass has been underestimated because I keep coming upon reports of unsuspected sources from within or upon the earth.

Tom Bakewell
Reply to  Crispin in Waterloo
September 20, 2018 6:14 am

Crispin, what type of instrumentation were you using for your CO2 measurements in Jakarta?

Tom Bakewell [Contact mods for email address public release.)

Pop Piasa
Reply to  Tom Bakewell
September 20, 2018 8:20 am

Tom I strongly recommend that you have the moderator remove your email address before the trolls find it. Just watching your back.

September 20, 2018 3:08 am

Serious question, how many kilotons of CO2 make up yearly human emissions? Wikipedia says in 2016 humans emitted 35 million kt…that’s the whole year. From the study referenced above “A new study by Icelandic and British geologists showed that Katla is emitting enormous quantities of CO2 – at least 20 kilotons of CO2 every day”. Am I missions something or does this volcano outstrip human emission in two days?

Reply to  mac
September 20, 2018 3:30 am

Wikipedia just references the same guestimates of human derived CO2 that the IPCC uses. And on that basis alone I judge it as unreliable!

Reply to  mac
September 20, 2018 3:38 am

Yeah, you missed the million: 40 kilotons vs. 35 million kilotons.

Jeff in Calgary
Reply to  philincalifornia
September 20, 2018 8:59 am

million kilotons is a BS unit. They should have either used billions of tons or gigatons.

Reply to  mac
September 20, 2018 3:39 am

Yes you are missing the word “million”

Reply to  mac
September 20, 2018 9:34 am

Estimates of human Carbon (not CO2) emissions run about 7 giga-tons/year.
That’s about 19 megatons/day, or ~19,000 kilotons/day.
Convert C to CO2 gives ~70,000 kilotons/day.
Exchange rates of atmospheric CO2 with the ocean and plants/soil are many times this value.
Volcanoes are pikers in CO2 emissions.

Steve R
Reply to  mac
September 20, 2018 12:30 pm

Perhaps check your math.

September 20, 2018 3:14 am

I vote for a volcano tax!

Reply to  Paul Homewood
September 20, 2018 5:06 am

Are you volunteering to enforce it on and collect it from the naughty volcanoes Paul?

Reply to  sophocles
September 20, 2018 2:59 pm

Sounds like a great job as long as the tax payer pays my $100,000 a year salary.

September 20, 2018 3:31 am

How do we tell the difference between the CO2 which the 97 % of the Climate type scieentists tell us is produced by us, the naughty huimans, and all the rest of the CO2 from volcanos to all life forms.


Jaakko Kateenkorva
Reply to  Michael
September 20, 2018 10:51 am

Good question. My bet is the 97 % of the Climate type scientists pin them all on nasty mankind.

Peta of Newark
September 20, 2018 3:41 am

Nice belchings (Spewings?- what *is* the anatomical unpleasantness du-jour?) of Ambrosia for the plant life of this world, but apart from that, what did Iceland give us?
Whale murderings
Fish slaughterings
Bitcoin minings (ha, is that what set the thing off, Bitcoins being No Substitute for actual Virgins)
Overpriced rip-off
A self pleasurer’s paradise
Constantly crap climate

Come on Katla, take it off the map.
Let folks know who is The Real Boss around here.

Coeur de Lion
September 20, 2018 3:53 am

When I saw ‘scientists have warned’ I nearly moved on. What is wrong with me?

James Beaver
Reply to  Coeur de Lion
September 20, 2018 6:36 am

It’s like dialog from a script for a 1960’s era Godzilla movie.

Krudd Gillard of the Commondebt of Australia
Reply to  Coeur de Lion
September 20, 2018 8:20 pm

you are suffering from “Climate Denier Syndrome.” Do not worry, it is actually healthy and is part of the body’s natural flight or fight response system. Be happy that you have not surrendered to immuno-suppressive bullying tactics.

September 20, 2018 4:14 am

These are new measurements, never been measured before, nothing known on how much Katla has been emitting through the ages or if this means if Katla is about to erupt. 20 kilotons a day, meaning , this one volcano is emitting 370 kilotons a year, 3% of what the whole earth is supposedly is emitting, doesn`t add up does it? I claim the number thrown around on what the earth emits vs. what humans put in the atmosphere is bogus.

Joel O'Bryan
September 20, 2018 7:44 pm

Without a scare story and hyperbole, how do you expect them to get funding for their next expedition?

It is how climate science works.

If they had said, “Ho hum, our multi-million Euro study showed not much, nothing to worry about,” then would they get another grant?

September 20, 2018 4:22 am

It is known that major (century-scale) volcanoes cause about 0.5-0.6C of global cooling, due to the ejection of fine materials into the upper atmosphere, which take about 5 years to fully dissipate – see below for the evidence. These large volcanoes reportedly also emit large quantities of CO2.

It is obvious that the global cooling effect of the fine volcanic ejecta greatly overwhelms the global warming effect of the CO2. Quelle surprise!

Some clever grad student might be able to estimate the sensitivity of climate to CO2 (TCS, etc.) from this real-world-scale test. I ran the numbers on my abacus and it appears that TCS is less than 1C/doubling and is closer to zero. The actual equation is: TCS ~= SQRT (SFA) ~= 0C/(2*CO2) ; Confidence Limits +0.3C; -0.0C.

Regards to all, Allan 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂


The Nino34 Area Sea Surface Temperature (the blue line in the following plot), adjusted by the Sato Global Mean Optical Depth Index (for major volcanoes – the yellow line), correlates quite well with the Global UAH LT temperature four months later (the red line).

It is clear from the divergence of the red line (Global UAH LT temperature) below the blue line that (Nino34 SST) that El Chichon and Pinatubo caused about 0.5C to 0.6C of global cooling that took about 5 years to fully dissipate (warm up) in each case.

Roger Knights
September 20, 2018 4:46 am

But the Icelandic volcanoes are the non-eruptive, basalt-type—so their particulates won’t get into the stratosphere, right?

Crispin in Waterloo
Reply to  Roger Knights
September 20, 2018 5:19 am

It will contain relatively low sulphur and high fluoride. High CO2 is a given because the magma bakes the crap out of any limestone that subducted down that far, plus the vast amount of hydrocarbon material that formed deep in the crust or mantle.

Reply to  Crispin in Waterloo
September 20, 2018 5:28 am

Maybe Katla’s will become the new measuring unit for CO2. Like Hiroshima’s.

Reply to  Roger Knights
September 20, 2018 5:59 am

Roger wrote:
“But the Icelandic volcanoes are the non-eruptive, basalt-type—so their particulates won’t get into the stratosphere, right?”

Correct Roger – Probably only about 2 volcanoes in the 20th Century had major cooling effect.

I don’t really have an abacus. 🙂

Reply to  Roger Knights
September 20, 2018 9:43 am

If an eruption is large enough the thermal energy will be enough to convect a part of the SO2 into the stratosphere even if it is a non-explosive eruption (no such thing as a non-eruptive eruption)

And even a “quiet” fissure-type eruption can have a lot of oomph. Descriptions of the Laki eruption 1783-84 describe several kilometer long “curtains of fire” rising thousands of feet from the fissures.

Moderately Cross of East Anglia
Reply to  tty
September 20, 2018 10:17 am

Yes, and there is an excellent little book about the Laki 18th century eruption which should be enjoyable reading for those fascinated by geology and history amongst us.
“Island on Fire” by Witze & Kanipe, published 1914.
Probably cheap now on Abebooks etc.

Reply to  Moderately Cross of East Anglia
September 21, 2018 3:13 am

Island on Fire: The extraordinary story of Laki, the volcano that turned eighteenth-century Europe dark
by Alexandra Witze (Author), Jeff Kanipe (Author)

• Kindle Edition
• Hardcover

• Paperback
from $699.00

Laki is Iceland’s largest volcano. Its eruption in 1783 is one of history’s great, untold natural disasters. Spewing out sun-blocking ash and then a poisonous fog for eight long months, the effects of the eruption lingered across the world for years. It caused the deaths of people as far away as the Nile and created catastrophic conditions throughout Europe.

Island on Fire is the story not only of a single eruption but the people whose lives it changed, the dawn of modern volcanology, as well as the history and potential of other super-volcanoes like Laki around the world. And perhaps most pertinently, in the wake of the eruption of another Icelandic volcano, Eyjafjallajokull, which closed European air space in 2010, acclaimed science writers Witze and Kanipe look at what might transpire should Laki erupt again in our lifetime.

The book is expensive. Not heeding it’s warning will probably be much more expensive. I wrote this recently about imminent natural global cooling:


In 2002, I predicted that natural global cooling would commence by 2020 to 2030, in an article published 1Sept2002 in the Calgary Herald. I am now leaning closer to 2020 for cooling to start, possibly even earlier. I hope to be wrong. Humanity and the environment suffer during cooling periods.

I suggest that it is long past time for society to prepare for the possibility of moderate global cooling. This would involve:
1. Strengthening of electrical grid systems, currently destabilized by costly, intermittent green energy schemes;
2. Reduce energy costs by all practical means.
3. Development of contingency plans for food production and storage, should early frosts impact harvests;
4. Develop contingency plans should vital services be disrupted by cold weather events – such as the failure of grid power systems, blocking of transportation corridors, etc.
5. Improve home insulation and home construction standards.

The current mania over (fictitious) catastrophic global warming has actually brewed the “perfect storm” – energy systems have been foolishly compromised and energy costs have been needlessly increased, to fight imaginary warming in a (probably) cooling world.

I suggest this is the prudent path for Western societies to follow. It has no downside, even if global cooling does not occur, and considerable upside if moderate cooling does commence.

I thank you for giving this modest proposal your consideration.

My heart soars like an eagle, my son!

Regards to all, Allan

Andrew Wilkins
September 20, 2018 4:51 am

What worries me is that if the volcano erupts and global cooling results, the thermageddonists will use it as an excuse when their much-vaunted hockey stick of rising temps fails to materialise.
“Yes we know it’s cooling, but if it wasn’t for that volcano we’d be burning to death! Tax evil see-oh-too now!!!!!”

September 20, 2018 5:17 am

Today’s XKCD has a data set to which various researchers have fitted curves. We’ve seen all those, and they’ve all been the subject of vigorous arguments.

One of the reasons I’m skeptical about models is the final curve. I’ve seen models blow up. Maybe that’s the curve that matches the volcano.

September 20, 2018 5:19 am

Gee whiz! After Eyjafjallajökull burped and coughed and scared everyone, I thought for sure that Hekla would be next. So when Katla burps and emits socially-unacceptable intestinal gases (hydrogen sulfide, my favorite, and CO2 of course), won’t most of it go into Europe like it did in the 18th century?

Oh, well, we have been warned by some of the media. How long will it be before the hysterics set in with the rest of the lamestream media? I want a ringside seat for it!

I guess I will have to go shopping and stock the pantry. Freezer’s full. I can buy another freezer. Walmart has them on sale right now. And another slow cooker and a couple of Lodge cast iron Dutch ovens.

I’d miss the fresh stuff, of course, but some of my stuff comes from a farm 40 miles that does greenhouse farming. Picture on their package label. They will probably welcome the increased demand.

I should make a list, right? Go to Binny’s and pick up some burgundy, a few other good imports and for once, no matter how much it bites the Big One, get a good Scotch that was born several decades ago.

What? Hey, if the world is going to go to Plotz in a handbasket, I want to have my fun! The neighborhood kids will enjoy building igloos in their yards. We can have a snowy cookout after the volcano-induced blizzard ends. Take pictures, post them on the internet – that sort of thing.

Cheers! Keep the shiny side up!

michael hart
Reply to  Sara
September 20, 2018 5:50 am

Yes, do not underestimate the power of “Eyjafjallajökull”
The word got the BBC swear-monitor in a tizzy during the 2019 World Cup. The BBC compared England’s Italian manager, Capello, to Vesuvius in terms of his temperament. But my completely innocuous reply was deleted for bad language, which could only have arisen as a result of the aforementioned E-word.

Jeff in Calgary
Reply to  michael hart
September 20, 2018 9:09 am

Ever heard a GPS try to say those fun Norse words? It’s a good laugh.

Reply to  Jeff in Calgary
September 20, 2018 9:59 am

It’s not at all difficult since Icelandic, unlike most laguages, is spelled exactly as it is pronounciated. If you know the few special characters it is all plain sailing:

á = like the vowel in ”call”
ð = a voiced lisp as in “this”
Þ = a unvoiced lisp like in “the”
ƍ/ö = like the vowel in “girl”

That is really all you need to know.

Reply to  tty
September 20, 2018 10:15 am

Mmm… not really “exactly”.

Eyjafjallajokull … is pronounced (very quickly) as “EYE-ya-fee-AHT-la-YIOK-ət’l” as near as I can muster. And you got to spit that out really fast for it to be “right”.

The “list” you talk about is called a dental fricative. unvoiced th as in thin, and voiced th (often transliterated as dh) as in then. Also the diphthong ‘au’ is pronounced very close to ‘oi’ in English. Void in english might be spelled Waud in Icelandic.

The fact that it is a phonetically consistent language … but with “consonantal drift” (linguistic palate tectonics!) in the 1100 years since the first Scandinavians lucked into hitting the thing in their sealskin boats, is every linguist’s dream to study.

They were nearly isolated for at least 500 years, with only a few traders from afar coming to visit. Most of whom could count on being killed and possibly eaten if the trade deals they thought to capitalize on weren’t Good Deals.

Sorry I’m bringing so much Icelandic lore to the party.
I visited, I studied, I embraced and I came to Love the place.
Stark beauty of its own.


Reply to  tty
September 20, 2018 11:56 am

Goat Guy, I’ve seen photos of Iceland that just blow me away. The primal landscape – what the world was like before humans – is right there.

The umlaut over the “o” in jokall gives it the “yerkal” sound in pronouncing it.

Mods, could you tell your computer I’m really harmless? It keeps holding me back.

Reply to  Sara
September 20, 2018 5:58 am


September 20, 2018 5:43 am

Shouldn’t Iceland be required to pay a hefty tax for hosting that enormous CO2-source?

Jeff in Calgary
Reply to  beng135
September 20, 2018 9:10 am

Their 0 emissions geothermal isn’t really 0 emissions is it. They should have to take all their volcanos into account.

D P Laurable
September 20, 2018 5:50 am

Does anyone know the CO2 kilotons to SUVs conversion factor?

September 20, 2018 6:25 am

“An eruption in Katla would dwarf the 2010 Eyjafjallajökull eruption, scientists have warned.”

A warning the “sky is falling” chicken alarmists were running around screaming about Katla during that 2010 eruption.

Katla will erupt when it is ready.
If mankind was half as intelligent as they believe themselves to be; they would prepare citizens, airports, farms, energy generating facilities for future ash fall.

Instead of wasting funds on alleged renewables.

Which brings up a side point.
A) How many times can solar panels have volcanic ash cleaned off?
* i) Somehow, I doubt those solar panels resist serious abrasion.
B) How well protected from ash are wind turbine?
* i) Somehow, I’d think ash getting into the generator or bearings would be a bad thing.
* ii) I’ll lay odds on wind turbine fan blades getting seriously abraded by volcanic ash.

Reply to  ATheoK
September 20, 2018 10:05 am

Actually, it isn’t the ash-fall that is either likely (at a distance) or even modestly concerning (in Europe). It is the volcanic fog. Vog.

Reportedly, when Katla last really blew a fuse, the Vog over Europe was thick enough that across huge swaths of Europe people could look directly at the sun overhead, which was a wee dim circle surrounded by blue-white haze. And stuff refused to grow that year, producing a famine. Not good.

Luckily, in our hyper connected world of Great Big Shipping Lines, we would be able today to send Europe enough foodstuffs and vittles to pretty handily survive a Great Famine. Mostly from the Americas.

Grains from America proper, frozen meats and chicken from America, Argentina, Paraguay, etc. Hêll, all we have to do is cut the production of corn-ethanol, and a billion tons of corn is available to grow pigs, chickens, salmon and beef cattle. Might not be the most efficient use of it, but still… would make hundred of millions of tons of walking stock.

Just saying,
We’re luckily in the 3rd millennium.
Europe will survive.


Reply to  GoatGuy
September 20, 2018 3:21 pm

The “vog” that you describe was the result of the Laki eruption 1783, not Katla 1918.

David Hart
September 20, 2018 6:35 am

Math: 20 kt/day X 365 days/year = 7,300kt/yr, or 7.3 GT. It’s not realistic that the eruption would go on at that rate for a whole year, even Kilauea didn’t do that, but an interesting metric.

Reply to  David Hart
September 20, 2018 8:35 am

I think that should be 0.0073 Gt, or 7.3 Mt.

Reply to  David Hart
September 20, 2018 8:54 am

GT is ten to the ninth
MT is ten to the sixth
KT is ten to the third.
Seven thousand three hundred times one thousand is 7.3 million, which is 7.3 MT

Reply to  David Hart
September 20, 2018 9:58 am

As others have posted…

20 kt × 1,000 t/kt × 365 → 7,300,000 t per year → 7.3×10⁶ t/a → 7.3 million (10⁶) tons/year

Just saying,

Reply to  David Hart
September 20, 2018 3:26 pm

The Laki eruption 1783-84 lasted for 8 months and emitted >100 MT SO2 and probably much more CO2.

Michael C
September 20, 2018 7:03 am

Finally a scare story about CO2 that I can actually be concerned with. I know the research is in the preliminary phases and uses computer models but at least it’s a real threat that I have no problems dumping money into researching. When, not if, that volcano goes boom itll be a bad day all around.

David L Hagen
September 20, 2018 8:36 am

Can they capture that CO2 and all the warm water produced for greenhouse vegetable production in winter? Make for great exports. – That might even exceed Netherland’s amazing greenhouse exports.

Reply to  David L Hagen
September 20, 2018 9:56 am

They already do (capture heat, steam, geothermal energy, even CO₂).

Iceland is Europe’s largest exporter of … bananas.
Yep, middle-of-the-Winter bananas.
From enormous greenhouses just East of Vic.
I’ve been there.

Whoever the evil genius was who released mating pairs of full-sized blue Amazon parrots into the greenhouses ought to be commended. They’re everywhere, and apparently unstoppable. Moreover, they’re pretty tame.

Gotta love Iceland.
Who knew?


September 20, 2018 8:38 am

Katla is emitting enormous quantities of CO2 – at least 20 kilotons of CO2 every day.

Or about 0.02% of human emissions.

Jeff in Calgary
September 20, 2018 8:57 am

many important facilities in the south of the country

Umm… Have you ever been to Iceland? There are no facilities in the south of the country. That is why everyone has to do their business on the side of the road.

Reply to  Jeff in Calgary
September 20, 2018 9:14 am

LOL, but there’s also a banana plantation there too. Largest exporter of bananas in Europe, I’m told. That, and a whole passel of hydrothermal vents, medium-scale power stations (attendant), and the (in)famous Breidhdalsvik haukarl open-air shark drying yards. Can smell those for miles.

Less (in)famously, north of Breidhdalsvik is Reydhvarsfjodhur, an inlet to a fine floating glacier ice fjord. Its fun to kayak, and you can suck on the bits of ice along the way. Quite a refreshing flavor, multi-thousand year ice has. Quite distinct. Great in mixed drinks, too. We just HAD to experiment at length with the 20–30 kilos we picked up coming back. Bombay gin seemed to cotton to glacier ice the best.

Good memories.

North of Reydhvarsfjordhur, you run into the haartafisk drying yards, where tens of thousands of kilos of nondescript North Atlantic catch is flensed, spitted and air-dried to crispness. Haartafisk, with skyr butter, well … is an epicurean delight that even young children quickly come to request. Its good! Especially with brenevin. Black Death brand … is overhyped, but still worth the experience. Aquavit “light” sort of, in a sea-faring sort-of-way.

I want to go back.


Jeff in Calgary
Reply to  GoatGuy
September 20, 2018 11:08 am

I used ice from Jökulsárlón in my Rye (Alberta Premium) and Coke.

Reply to  GoatGuy
September 20, 2018 3:42 pm

I think you are mixing things up. Iceland has no tidewater glaciers, least of all at Reydharfjördhur, where there isn’t even any glacier nearby. The nearest thing to a “glacier ice fjord” would be Jökulsárlón which is however a freshwater lake, though very close to the sea.

Reply to  tty
September 20, 2018 4:49 pm

Looking back at my travel diary… you’re right. It was Jokulsárlón. ”The mind is a terrible thing to waste” … and 15+ years lends a certain mixed-ness to those beautifully lilting Icelandic place names. Thanks for the catch. The sentiment remains unchanged!

Hermit Oldguy
Reply to  GoatGuy
September 20, 2018 10:42 pm

They grow bananas, but they do not export them.

Reply to  Hermit Oldguy
September 21, 2018 3:29 pm

Well… if “export” means “by the shipload”, then yes, they do not mass-export them. However, almost tongue-in-cheek, they do ship a few boxes a year, perhaps a thousand kilos worth, to various of Europe’s ever-present yearly food fairs and competitions. As the only exporter of bananas (technically) in Europe. Its a huge practical joke. Icelanders have great senses of humor when it comes to it.

September 20, 2018 9:28 am

On that Katla note, it should be remembered that Iceland’s volcanoes are inexorable. They don’t quit. Ever.

The eruption of Eyjafjallajokull was — at the time — given to be an ominous precursor warning for Katla nearby. Or for any of another half dozen active and recently dormant eruptors. The evidence of very, very recent Jokulhlaup (glacial floods) is everywhere. The stink of H₂S while passing around the southern barrens, across the jomulhlaup-damaged-and-rebuilt ringvitler (“Ring Road”) low bridges. The H₂S is really strong.

The emission of CO₂ is indeed a proxy for Icelandic volcanic activity at the base of the glaciers overlying. The question tho’ is, (in light of my initial sentiment “never quits”), is … is this something comparatively new, or something which has been only recently assessed, but likely the nominal background steady-state of old?

And to the authors’ and commenters’ assessments … that Katla is a Monster, it is indeed a monster. Mostly though, its eruptions are the usual statistical sequence: 0.1, 0.3, 0.2, 0.1, 0.3, 0.1, 0.1, 0.4, 5.5, 1.5, 0.6, 0.1, 0.7, 0.2, 0.1, 0.1, … 1.3, 0.1, 0.2, 15.5!!!, 2.5, 4, 1.5, 0.3, 0.1, 0.2, 0.1 …

In other words, a whole lot of modest-to-significant eruptions punctuated every so often by a monstrous one and a rapidly decaying trail of larger “aftershock” eruptions as the cauldron complex relaxes, post paroxysm.

Let’s hope in our lifetimes that Katla isn’t in the Paroxysm mood.
It would be bad.

For Europe especially.
And the Earth more generally… volcanic winter.


Reply to  GoatGuy
September 20, 2018 12:00 pm

Iceland sits on a rift zone. Spread apart about 10 inches per year. Doesn’t seem like a lot, but it’s the reason the Icelanders had to fight fire with water when a rift eruption took place several decades ago.

There’s another rift running through Antarctic, hence the line of sub-ice volcanoes. Erebus is just one of many.

The Earth has its own agenda. We’re just along for the ride.

September 20, 2018 9:40 am

The same concerns were raised in 2010-2011 — but no eruption took place.

Maybe this time.

Reply to  Kip Hansen
September 20, 2018 9:53 am

I kind of think that calling out “the Sky is about to Fall…” with respect to Iceland’s volcanoes — at least if also openly admitting the caveat “could be, this time”, is important. Yet in another way, it is also kind of sterile.

• Sterile in that Mankind can do absolutly nothing to sap a pending eruption.
• Sterile in that Europe isn’t likely to stockpile survival foods and materiel.
• Sterile because the AGW petit opera will somehow get coöpted as compounding the issues
• Sterile because the state of volcanology is unable to actually predict size, timing…
• Sterile because the WORLD is also not gaming out the post-Katla future

Just saying.

Reply to  Kip Hansen
September 20, 2018 6:33 pm

And Yellowstone after a swarm of earthquakes

John Tillman
September 20, 2018 11:32 am

Where is Red Adair when you need him?

September 20, 2018 4:29 pm

Is Iceland a party to the Paris climate agreement? Shame on them for all the allowed emissions. Using the NY health maxim of “out of the abundance of caution” the Icelandic economy needs to be shutdown by order of the ipcc and world Court.

Reply to  ResourceGuy
September 21, 2018 2:31 am

When ya gotta go, ya gotta go.

September 20, 2018 6:35 pm

Anthony has this covered in his article on the European Geosciences Union on how to control glaciers. Glaciers, Volcanoes who cares?
Just get them to send a crew and they will no doubt sort it out!
These guys think big and I have every confidence they can engineer their way through this threat!
Might get them to look at Vesuvius as well as that sucker is just about due again.

Chuck in Houston
September 26, 2018 11:02 am

We should just throw all our plastics in it. /s

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