It had to be said by someone, at some point. A volcanologist – no, not from Vulcan – and a geophysicist are blaming Iceland’s Eyjafjallajokull eruption on man made climate change.
The argument proposed by Freysteinn Sigmundsson, a volcanologist at the University of Iceland, and Carolina Pagli, a geophysicist at the University of Leeds is that man made global warming – rebranded climate change for marketing purposes – caused the Eyjafjallajokull icecap above the volcano to get thinner over time and reduced the pressure on the super-super-super hot lava and allowed it to escape.
So, they are telling us the ice cap was about 65 stories deep, and the super-super-super hot lava – with a temperature between 1300-2400o F – has a less pronounced affect on the thickness of the ice cap then barely measurable global warming?
I’m no scientist, but come on now. From an Investor’s Business Daily editorial today. My emphasis in bold.
Their theory is that global warming has been melting the glacier on top of the volcano, about 650 feet thick, which has served as a cap keeping the volcano quiet. As the ice has melted, the cap has weakened, removing a vast weight and freeing magma that has been building up inside the earth.
Freeing magma? I had no idea that anything – let alone a bunch of ice – could keep magma captured!
“Global warming melts ice, and this can influence magmatic systems,” Sigmundsson says. Pagli warns that climate change could also trigger volcanic eruptions and even earthquakes in places such as Mount Erebus in Antarctica, the Aleutian islands in Alaska, or Patagonia in South America. She and Dr. Sigmundsson wrote a 2008 paper in the scientific journal Geophysical Research Letters about possible links between global warming and Icelandic volcanoes.
Is global warming melting ice-plugging volcanic craters, allowing them to erupt, or is it the volcanoes themselves that are melting the ice above them? Two years ago, we commented on a report in the June 26, 2008, edition of ScienceDaily that a research team led by the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) had uncovered evidence of massive undersea volcanic eruptions deep beneath the ice-covered surface of the Arctic Ocean.
The WHOI researchers found evidence of a series of strong quakes and eruptions as big as the one that buried the ancient city of Pompeii took place in 1999 along the Gakkel Ridge, an underwater mountain range snaking 1,100 miles from the northern tip of Greenland to Siberia.
Scientists at NOAA’s Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory have put together a chart showing Arctic ice relatively stable until a precipitous decline began in 1999 — the very year the Arctic eruptions started.
Gee, could the temperature change of the oceans – and events like el Nino and la Nina be tied directly to under-ocean volcanic activity?
The irony here is that while global warming is blamed for the current eruption, gases from past volcanoes have actually lowered the earth’s temperatures, caused acid rain and even thinned our protective ozone layer. This eruption may as well, if it persists. This volcano erupted in December 1821 (long before the SUV) and that lasted more than a year.