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wtmusic Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-20-10 01:27 PM
Original message
Royal Society: Iceland volcano may have been triggered by global warming


Periods of exceptional climate change in Earth history are associated with a dynamic response from the solid Earth, involving enhanced levels of potentially hazardous geological and geomorphological activity. This response is expressed through the adjustment, modulation or triggering of a wide range of surface and crustal phenomena, including volcanic and seismic activity, submarine and sub-aerial landslides, tsunamis and landslide splash waves glacial outburst and rock-dam failure floods, debris flows and gas-hydrate destabilisation. Looking ahead, modelling studies and projection of current trends point towards increased risk in relation to a spectrum of geological and geomorphological hazards in a world warmed by anthropogenic climate change, while observations suggest that the ongoing rise in global average temperatures may already be eliciting a hazardous response from the geosphere.


"Lots of people have asked me whether there has been any connection between global warming and the recent earthquakes and other geological activity. Today, the UKs Royal Society published an amazingly timely special series of scientific papers on the topic. Seven leading experts co-authored the editors introduction (quoted above).

Reuters reported on Friday, 'A thaw of Icelands ice caps in coming decades caused by climate change may trigger more volcanic eruptions by removing a vast weight and freeing magma from deep below ground, scientists said.' Last week, FoxNews reported, 'A huge glacier has broken off and plunged into a lake in Peru sparking a 23-meter high tsunami wave that destroyed a nearby town.' Local governor Cesar Alvarez said: 'Because of global warming the glaciers are going to detach and fall on these overflowing lakes. This is what happened.'"

http://climateprogress.org/2010/04/19/global-warming-link-volcanoes-earthquakes-landslides-tsunamis-royal-society-scientists/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+climateprogress%2FlCrX+%28Climate+Progress%29

It's going to be a wild ride.



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Gman Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-20-10 01:49 PM
Response to Original message
1. I believe there is one unifying theory on everything
Edited on Tue Apr-20-10 01:49 PM by Gman
if global warming through a complex series of changes causes increased seismic and volcanic activity, a unifying theory could be shown to be true. Lot's of "ifs".
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pnwmom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-20-10 02:01 PM
Response to Original message
2. Interesting. And the ash could also counteract the warming, if there's enough of it. n/t
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joshcryer Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-20-10 04:20 PM
Response to Reply #2
3. My thought, however, it turns out that this particular eruption isn't doing enough.
It needs to be a magnitude stronger to pull off the cooling effects it did nearly a century ago. It would be an interesting feedback mechanism though.
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pnwmom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-20-10 04:29 PM
Response to Reply #3
4. I agree. But if the second volcano blew, all bets are off.
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wtmusic Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-20-10 04:49 PM
Response to Reply #3
5. It's doing more by keeping jets on the ground. nt
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mzteris Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-20-10 06:41 PM
Response to Original message
6. hmm - who were the ones who laughed at me
when I said this last week?

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OKIsItJustMe Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-20-10 06:44 PM
Response to Original message
7. No.
http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.php?az=show_mesg&forum=115&topic_id=242796&mesg_id=242796
...

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.


...
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wtmusic Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-20-10 07:26 PM
Response to Reply #7
8. You're funny.
"No." :rofl:

I didn't know you were an expert in volcanism. Since you are you surely have taken this paper into account:

"Glaciers and ice sheets on many active volcanoes are rapidly receding. There is compelling evidence that melting of ice during the last deglaciation triggered a dramatic acceleration in volcanic activity. Will melting of ice this century, which is associated with climate change, similarly affect volcanic activity and associated hazards? This paper provides a critical overview of the evidence that current melting of ice will increase the frequency or size of hazardous volcanic eruptions. Many aspects of the link between ice recession and accelerated volcanic activity remain poorly understood. Key questions include how rapidly volcanic systems react to melting of ice, whether volcanoes are sensitive to small changes in ice thickness and how recession of ice affects the generation, storage and eruption of magma at stratovolcanoes. A greater frequency of collapse events at glaciated stratovolcanoes can be expected in the near future, and there is strong potential for positive feedbacks between melting of ice and enhanced volcanism. Nonetheless, much further research is required to remove current uncertainties about the implications of climate change for volcanic hazards in the twenty-first century."

http://rsta.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/368/1919/2535.abstract

Other experts seem a bit less certain than you.
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OKIsItJustMe Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-20-10 07:50 PM
Response to Reply #8
9. Right
Edited on Tue Apr-20-10 08:00 PM by OKIsItJustMe
What you should be most interested in is the actual studies, which I posted a link to (yesterday.)

So, what does the science say?

http://rsta.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/368/1919/2311.full
...

In a similar vein, Sigmundsson et al. evaluate the influence of climate-driven ice loading and unloading on volcanism, focusing on Iceland and, in particular, on the Vatnajkull ice cap. Noting that a significant pulse of volcanism in Iceland, at the end of the last glaciation, flags a link between unloading and volcanism, the authors model the effects of contemporary ice-mass loss at Vatnajkull on future magmatic activity. Using a viscoelastic model of glacio-isostatic adjustment that incorporates melt generation in the underlying mantle, Sigmundsson and co-authors predict that ice wastage will result in additional magma generation beneath Iceland. The authors expect more frequent or more voluminous volcanic activity to be a consequence of enhanced melt generation, but also observe that it could take longer than decades or centuries for the resulting magma to reach the surface. Sigmundsson et al. also show that ice unloading is likely to drive shallow magma reservoirs progressively towards failure, although this effect will be small and therefore contribute only to modulating normal activity.

A more general evaluation of the impact of a changing climate on glaciated volcanoes is undertaken by Tuffen, who looks ahead to how the melting of ice caps on active volcanoes may influence volcanic hazards in the 21st century. In reviewing the evidence for current melting of ice increasing the frequency or size of future eruptions, Tuffen notes that much remains to be understood in relation to ice loss and increased eruptive activity. In particular, uncertainty surrounds the sensitivity of volcanoes to small changes in ice thickness and how rapidly volcanic systems respond to deglaciation. Nonetheless, Tuffen expects an increase in explosive eruptions at glaciated volcanoes that experience significant ice thinning, and increased frequency of lateral collapse at glaciated strato-volcanoes in response to anthropogenic warming. On the positive side, deglaciation may ultimately reduce the threat from volcanic debris flows (lahars) and meltwater floods from volcanoes that currently support ice caps.

...


The Royal Society did not say, "Iceland volcano may have been triggered by global warming." Nor did the Climate Progress article you cited.

http://climateprogress.org/2010/04/19/global-warming-link-volcanoes-earthquakes-landslides-tsunamis-royal-society-scientists/
...

Just to be clear about what these papers are and arent saying, the Guardian reports:
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 weeks http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/apr/15/china-earthquake-death-toll-rises">earthquake in China that killed hundreds of people and the http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/blog/2010/apr/15/volcano-airport-disruption-iceland">volcanic eruption in Iceland that grounded flights across Europe.

Experts say global warming could affect geological hazards such as earthquakes because of the way it can move large amounts of mass around on the Earths surface. Melting glaciers and rising sea levels shift the distribution of huge amounts of water, which release and increase pressures through the ground.

These pressure changes could make ruptures and seismic shifts more likely. Research from Germany suggests that the Earths crust can sometimes be so close to failure that tiny changes in surface pressure brought on heavy rain can trigger quakes.
...
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wtmusic Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-20-10 08:44 PM
Response to Reply #9
10. The science says there may be a link. Which is exactly what I posted.
Edited on Tue Apr-20-10 08:47 PM by wtmusic
Get a life. :eyes:

onedit: far more accurate than your speculative, categorical "No."
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OKIsItJustMe Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-20-10 09:21 PM
Response to Reply #10
11. No, that's not what you posted.
What you posted was "Royal Society: Iceland volcano may have been triggered by global warming"

They did not say that. What they said is dramatic enough. Don't overstate it.

http://rsta.royalsocietypublishing.org/site/issues/climate_forcing.xhtml

Climate forcing of geological and geomorphological hazards

Bill McGuire, Richard Betts, Christopher Kilburn, Mark Maslin, David Pyle, John Smellie and David Tappin

Periods of exceptional climate change in Earth history are associated with a dynamic response from the solid Earth, involving enhanced levels of potentially hazardous geological and geomorphological activity. This response is expressed through the adjustment, modulation or triggering of a wide range of surface and crustal phenomena, including volcanic and seismic activity, submarine and sub-aerial landslides, tsunamis and landslide 'splash' waves glacial outburst and rock-dam failure floods, debris flows and gas-hydrate destabilisation. Looking ahead, modelling studies and projection of current trends point towards increased risk in relation to a spectrum of geological and geomorphological hazards in a world warmed by anthropogenic climate change, while observations suggest that the ongoing rise in global average temperatures may already be eliciting a hazardous response from the geosphere. Papers included in this issue review the potential influences of anthropogenic warming in relation to an array of geological and geomorphological hazards across a range of environmental settings.


One of the authors (Richard Betts) was quoted by The Guardian:
http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2010/apr/19/climate-change-geological-hazards
...

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.


...


It's this sort of thing which gives "Climate Change" a bad reputation.
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wtmusic Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-21-10 12:05 AM
Response to Reply #11
12. Here we are in Semantics Land again.
I defy you to show me how "global average temperatures may already be eliciting a hazardous response from the geosphere" doesn't imply that GATs haven't possibly triggered the Icelandic volcano.

Have at it.

btw while you're stuck on anally dissecting the wording of my post, you may not have noticed that your profound "no" doesn't reflect any of the authors' exact wording either.

Hypocrisy much?
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OKIsItJustMe Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-21-10 08:27 AM
Response to Reply #12
13. Here's the hazardous response that statement refers to
Edited on Wed Apr-21-10 08:32 AM by OKIsItJustMe
http://rsta.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/368/1919/2311.full
...

The theme of slope destabilization and failure, this time in a subaerial setting, is continued in a paper by Huggel et al., which examines recent large slope failures in the context of short-term, extreme warming events. Huggel and colleagues demonstrate a link between large slope failures in Alaska, New Zealand and the European Alps, and preceding, anomalously warm episodes. The authors present evidence supporting the view that triggering of large slope failures in temperature-sensitive high mountains is primarily a function of reduced slope strength due to increased production of meltwater from snow and ice and from rapid thaw processes. Looking ahead, they expect more frequent episodes of extreme temperature to result in a rise in the number of large slope failures in elevated terrain and warn of potentially serious consequences for mountain communities.

The slope failure hazard in mountainous terrain is also addressed by Keiler et al. in a paper that examines the influence of contemporary climate change on a broad spectrum of geomorphological hazards in the eastern European Alps, including landslides, rock falls, debris flows, avalanches and floods. In the context of the pan-continental 2003 heat wave and the 2005 central European floods, the authors demonstrate how physical processes and human activity are linked in climatically sensitive alpine regions that are prone to the effects of anthropogenic climate change. Importantly, Keiler et al. note that, while the European Alps, alongside other glaciated mountain ranges, are being disproportionately impacted upon by climate change, this is further exacerbated by regional factors, including local climatology and long-term decay of glaciers and permafrost. The authors conclude that future climate changes are likely to drive rises in the incidence of mountain hazards and, consequently, increase their impact on Alpine communities.

There is strong evidence for a crustal response to the rapidly changing post-glacial climate being elicited by load changes, either as a consequence of unloading at high latitudes and high altitudes due to ice-mass wastage, or as a result of the loading of ocean basins and continental margins in response to a 100 m or more rise in global sea level. The following three papers address the influence of load changes in the context of the triggering of seismicity and volcanism. In the first, Guillas et al. present the results of a statistical study of a putative correlation between contemporary variations in the El NioSouthern Oscillation (ENSO) and the occurrence of earthquakes on the East Pacific Rise (EPR). The authors observe a significant (95% confidence interval) positive influence of the Southern Oscillation Index (SOI) on seismicity, and propose that increased seismicity on the EPR arises due to the reduced sea levels in the eastern Pacific that precede El Nio events, and which can be explained in terms of the reduction in ocean-bottom pressure over the EPR by a few kilopascals. Guillas et al. note that this provides an example of how variations in the atmosphere and hydrosphere can drive very small changes in environmental conditions that are able, in turn, to trigger a response from the Earths crust. Most importantly, they speculate that, in a warmer world, comparable and larger changes associated with ocean loading due to global sea level rise, or unloading associated with the passage of more intense storms, may trigger more significant earthquake activity at submarine fault systems that are in a critical state.

Continuing the theme, Hampel et al. take a broader look at how faults have responded to variations in ice and water volumes as a consequence of past climate change. Using numerical models, the authors demonstrate that climate-driven changes in ice and water volume are able to affect the slip evolution of both thrust and normal faults, within generalboth the slip rate and the seismicity of a fault increasing with unloading and decreasing with loading. Adopting a case-study approach, Hampel and colleagues provide evidence for a widespread, post-glacial, seismic response on faults located beneath decaying ice sheets or glacial lakes. Looking ahead, the authors point to the implications of their results for ice-mass loss at high latitudes, and speculate that shrinkage of the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets as a consequence of anthropogenic warming could result in a rise in the frequency of earthquakes in these regions.

In a similar vein, Sigmundsson et al. evaluate the influence of climate-driven ice loading and unloading on volcanism, focusing on Iceland and, in particular, on the Vatnajkull ice cap. Noting that a significant pulse of volcanism in Iceland, at the end of the last glaciation, flags a link between unloading and volcanism, the authors model the effects of contemporary ice-mass loss at Vatnajkull on future magmatic activity. Using a viscoelastic model of glacio-isostatic adjustment that incorporates melt generation in the underlying mantle, Sigmundsson and co-authors predict that ice wastage will result in additional magma generation beneath Iceland. The authors expect more frequent or more voluminous volcanic activity to be a consequence of enhanced melt generation, but also observe that it could take longer than decades or centuries for the resulting magma to reach the surface. Sigmundsson et al. also show that ice unloading is likely to drive shallow magma reservoirs progressively towards failure, although this effect will be small and therefore contribute only to modulating normal activity.

...


My profound "No" simply meant, that's not what they said. You've put words in their mouths.
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