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Could volcanoes stop global warming?

Posted by on Mar. 3, 2013 at 9:30 AM
  • 32 Replies

Could volcanoes offset the effects of global warming. It may be possible, according to a recently published report.

Scientists at the University of Colorado Boulder say they are searching for clues as to why Earth failed to warm as much as scientists predicted between 2000 and 2010.  While previous studies have pinpointed a number of causes, the scientists now say dozens of volcanoes spewing sulfur dioxide are the main culprit.

Lead study author Ryan Neely, who led the research as part of his CU-Boulder doctoral thesis, has exonerated Asia — which is estimated to have increased their industrial sulfur dioxide emissions by about 60 percent from 2000 to 2010 through coal burning — saying small particles of sulfur dioxide emissions ejected from volcanoes may be behind the cooling trend.

According to Neely, sulfur dioxide emissions ejected through volcanoes eventually rise 12 to 20 miles into the stratospheric aerosol layer of the atmosphere, where chemical reactions create sulfuric acid and water particles that reflect sunlight back to space, cooling the planet. The resulting chemical reaction cools Earth’s upper atmosphere, creating a global cooling effect that seems to counter global warming trends.

In order to crack the code of cooler-than-predicted temperatures, Neely and his team built on a 2011 study that examined the ability of stratospheric aerosols to offset about a quarter of the greenhouse effect warming on Earth. Using a pair of sophisticated computer models, including the Whole Atmosphere Community Climate Model  (WACCM) and the Community Aerosol and Radiation Model for Atmosphere (CARMA), the researchers were able to calculate properties of specific aerosols over the course of the past two decades. The data was then compared to models predicting changes in the atmosphere caused by increased coal burning in emerging economies  such as India and China. Using the Janus supercomputer, the research team conducted seven computer trials, each simulating ten years of atmospheric activity tied to both coal-burning activities in Asia.

The study comes as a number of countries around the world have sought to curtail the effects of global warming. A recently published study on Antarctic ice suggests that increases in the rate of warming that halted the last ice age correlated with increases of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, the latest indication that massive amounts of carbon dioxide could be responsible for current warming trends.

It remains unclear whether the impact of volcanoes on global warming is a long-term trend, say researchers. A number of studies have pointed to past volcano explosions as a driving force for global climate change, a finding that seems to suggest a tipping points of sorts when it comes to emission limits.

That said, this is not the first report to draw a connection between volcanoes and their ability to curb the impacts of global warming. A volcanic plume of iron-laden ash from a 2008 Alaskan volcano eruption led to an unprecedentedly huge bloom of photosynthetic ocean plankton that fed off the ash. The natural phenomenon was akin to a geoengineering scenario proposed by some researchers who want to fight global warming by spurring the growth of marine plants that can suck carbon dioxide from the air. Meanwhile, another study has asserted that volcanic eruptions may be triggered by bouts of global warming.

http://www.sciencerecorder.com/news/could-volcanoes-stop-global-warming/



by on Mar. 3, 2013 at 9:30 AM
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Replies (1-10):
meriana
by Gold Member on Mar. 3, 2013 at 9:47 AM

Well lets just hope they don't decide that an active volcano is the next best solution and begin looking for ways to trigger volcanic activity.

stormcris
by Christy on Mar. 3, 2013 at 9:52 AM
1 mom liked this

If it is true the earth is trying to fix the problem. There are many other things they can fix and in order to actually live with the earth those things should be addressed. It is not beyond the scope for some group to want to try that like they are trying to find a way to control the weather but perhaps now people might understand that natural disasters have a purpose.

Quoting meriana:

Well lets just hope they don't decide that an active volcano is the next best solution and begin looking for ways to trigger volcanic activity.


JCB911
by Bronze Member on Mar. 3, 2013 at 9:52 AM

Great then we can have global cooling again.

When Krakatoa erupted - in 1883.  It had global consequences,  cooling to be specific - extremely harsh winters.  Previous volcanoes are believed to have been the causes of historic great famines, b/c of the cooling effect, and the effect on agriculture.

So, no thank you, I'll take global warming - which is easy to take because it's a make-believe.  So, I'll continue not worrying about a made up catastrophe. 

And what a great article to ease all your global-warming-worried minds -the Earth will take care of itself, it is resilient.

StarburstKisses
by Bronze Member on Mar. 3, 2013 at 10:18 AM
1 mom liked this

bump

Euphoric
by Thumper kid spanks on Mar. 3, 2013 at 10:21 AM
1 mom liked this

 Interesting.

Sisteract
by Whoopie on Mar. 3, 2013 at 12:31 PM
3 moms liked this

Interesting information.

Science is fascinating...to bad many eschew the basic principles. Stimulating the brain is a good thing.

mehamil1
by Platinum Member on Mar. 3, 2013 at 1:17 PM
1 mom liked this

Yeah. The vast majority of scientists, the leading minds among us backed up by mounds of evidence and research going back to the 1960s, all made up fairy tales. 

Quoting JCB911:

Great then we can have global cooling again.

When Krakatoa erupted - in 1883.  It had global consequences,  cooling to be specific - extremely harsh winters.  Previous volcanoes are believed to have been the causes of historic great famines, b/c of the cooling effect, and the effect on agriculture.

So, no thank you, I'll take global warming - which is easy to take because it's a make-believe.  So, I'll continue not worrying about a made up catastrophe. 

And what a great article to ease all your global-warming-worried minds -the Earth will take care of itself, it is resilient. 

mehamil1
by Platinum Member on Mar. 3, 2013 at 1:18 PM
5 moms liked this

Just to be safe, I say we start sacrificing virgins to Pele. 

kailu1835
by Ruby Member on Mar. 3, 2013 at 1:21 PM
1 mom liked this

Wouldn't surprise me.  In nature there seems to always be a way to balance things out.

mehamil1
by Platinum Member on Mar. 3, 2013 at 1:22 PM
1 mom liked this

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