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Scientists call for research on climate link to geological hazards (volcanoes and earthquakes)

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OKIsItJustMe Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-19-10 07:22 PM
Original message
Scientists call for research on climate link to geological hazards (volcanoes and earthquakes)
Edited on Mon Apr-19-10 07:37 PM by OKIsItJustMe
http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2010/apr/19/climate-change-geological-hazards

Scientists call for research on climate link to geological hazards

Experts say suggestions that climate change could trigger more volcanoes and earthquakes are speculative, but there is enough evidence to take the threat seriously

David Adam, environment correspondent
guardian.co.uk, Monday 19 April 2010 06.30 BST

Scientists today called for wide-ranging research into whether more volcanoes, earthquakes, landslides and tsunamis could be triggered by rising global temperatures under global warming.

Significant warming of the atmosphere in the distant past can be linked to changes in geological activity, they say. Suggestions that climate change predicted for coming decades could bring similar changes remain speculative, but the scientists say there is enough evidence to take the threat seriously. Some experts have already linked current levels of global warming to rockfalls and landslides in mountain regions.

Richard Betts, a climate modeller at the Met Office Hadley Centre in Exeter, said: "This is a new area of academic research with potentially interesting implications. It was previously assumed there was no link at all between climate change and these events, but it is possible to speculate that climate change might make some more likely. If we do get large amounts of climate change in the long term then we might see some impacts."

He said there was no evidence that current levels of global warming were influencing events such as last week's earthquake in China that killed hundreds of people and the volcanic eruption in Iceland that grounded flights across Europe.

...


http://rsta.royalsocietypublishing.org/site/issues/climate_forcing.xhtml
http://rsta.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/368/1919/2311.full
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PSPS Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-19-10 07:28 PM
Response to Original message
1. At first blush, a link seems plausable
After all, when millions of tons of weight (maybe more) in glacier ice is removed from a plate, isn't it possible that the underlying plate might be more prone to movement? Of course, the weight of a plate is unfathomable, but volcanoes are situated at the endges of the plates where less weight might make them more "flexible" somehow.
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OKIsItJustMe Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-19-10 07:42 PM
Response to Reply #1
2. It's amazing to consider
However, once you start thinking about it...
:scared:
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eppur_se_muova Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-19-10 08:01 PM
Response to Reply #1
3. It's called "post-glacial rebound".
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Post-glacial_rebound

But the time frame appears to be very long, at least as known so far. It might very well be that above a magma chamber it would be faster. Would be interested to hear from any geophysicists on this.
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caraher Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-19-10 08:06 PM
Response to Original message
4. Gaia revived?
The interesting aspect of this to me is that it seems all the material ejected from increased volcanoes should have a net cooling effect. This might actually be negative feedback of some importance.

It's hard to find the upside to earthquakes (and the tsunamis they generate) and landslides, though. And I would never suggest that "nature will take care of this" through such a speculative mechanism!
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OKIsItJustMe Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-20-10 08:25 AM
Response to Reply #4
5. "volcanoes should have a net cooling effect"
I wouldn't count on this.

Volcanoes also emit greenhouse gases, whose effects are long-term, while the cooling effects of the ash will be relatively short term.

http://www.geology.sdsu.edu/how_volcanoes_work/climate_effects.html
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OKIsItJustMe Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-20-10 09:06 AM
Response to Reply #5
6. Volcano emitting tonnes of CO2 daily
http://news.smh.com.au/breaking-news-world/volcano-emitting-tonnes-of-co2-daily-20100420-sppr.html

Volcano emitting tonnes of CO2 daily

April 20, 2010 - 6:19AM

AFP

Iceland's Eyjafjoell volcano is emitting between 150,000 and 300,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2) per day, a figure placing it in the same emissions league as a small-to-medium European economy, experts said on Monday.

Assuming the composition of gas to be the same as in an earlier eruption on an adjacent volcano, "the CO2 flux of Eyjafjoell would be 150,000 tonnes per day," Colin Macpherson, an Earth scientist at Britain's University of Durham, said in an email.

Patrick Allard of the Paris Institute for Global Physics (IPGP) gave what he described as a "top range" estimate of 300,000 tonnes per day.

...

Extrapolated over a year, the emissions would place the volcano 47th to 75th in the world table of emitters on a country-by-country basis, according to a database at the World Resources Institute (WRI), which tracks environment and sustainable development.

...
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caraher Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-20-10 01:44 PM
Response to Reply #6
7. Ah
Well, it was a nice thought for a moment, even if the numbers didn't bear it out. And of course, if they give a short-term cooling effect AND a long-term warming effect that's pretty much the worst-case scenario, since the short-term cooling will bolster the deny-and-delay crowd.
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