[Coral-List] Climate Change
dryland404 at gmail.com
Fri Nov 4 15:25:32 EDT 2016
Does anyone know of the numbers have been updated since 2013 when this
article came out?
Until the end of the 20th century, the academic consensus was that this
volcanic output was tiny — a fiery speck against the colossal anthropogenic
footprint. Recently, though, volcanologists have begun to reveal a hidden
side to our leaking planet.
Exactly how much CO2 passes through the magmatic vents in our crust might
be one of the most important questions that Earth science can answer.
have been overtaken in the carbon stakes, but in order to properly assess
the consequences of human pollution, we need the reference point of the
natural background. And we're getting there; the last twenty years have
seen huge steps in our understanding of how, and how much CO2 leaves the
deep Earth. But at the same time, a disturbing pattern has been emerging.
In 1992, it was thought that volcanic degassing released something like 100
million tons of CO2 each year. Around the turn of the millennium, this
figure was getting closer to 200. The most recent estimate, released this
February, comes from a team led by Mike Burton, of the Italian National
Institute of Geophysics and Volcanology – and it’s just shy of 600 million
tons. It caps a staggering trend: A six-fold increase in just two decades.
We think. Scientists' best estimates, however, are based on an assumption.
It might surprise you to learn that, well into the new century, of the 150
smokers I mentioned, almost 80 percent are still as mysterious, in terms of
the quantity of CO2 they emit, as they were a generation ago: We've only
actually measured 33.
If the 117 unsampled peaks follow a similar trend, then the research
community's current projection might stand. But looking through such a
small window, there's no way of knowing if what we have seen until now is
typical or not. It's like shining a light on a darkened globe: randomly,
you might hit Australia, and think you’d seen it all – while on the edge of
your beam, unnoticed, would be Asia. Our planet's isolated volcanic
frontiers could easily be hiding a monster or two; and with a bit of
exploration, our estimate of volcanic CO2 output could rise even higher
Even more incredibly, it even seems that some volcanoes which are
considered inactive, in terms of their potential to ooze new land, can
still make some serious additions to the atmosphere through diffuse CO2release.
dormant craters, though it might never reach the surface, can still 'erupt'
gases from a distance. Amazingly, from what little scientists have
measured, it looks like this process might give off as much as half the CO2 put
out by fully active volcanoes.
If these additional 'carbon-active' volcanoes are included, the number of
degassing peaks skyrockets to more than 500. Of which we've measured a
grand total of nine percent. You can probably fill it in by now — we need
to climb more mountains.
On Thu, Nov 3, 2016 at 6:18 PM, Ruben van Hooidonk <
ruben.van.hooidonk at noaa.gov> wrote:
> There are so many different sources out there and part of the
> misunderstanding might come from our language differences. CO2 is not the
> same as carbon see:
> The atomic weight of carbon is 12 atomic mass units, while the weight of
> carbon dioxide is 44, because it includes two oxygen atoms that each weigh
> 16. So, to switch from one to the other, use the formula: One ton of carbon
> equals 44/12 = 11/3 = 3.67 tons of carbon dioxide.
> Co2.earth states that emissions in 2014 from burning fossil fuels were:
> 9.795 gigatonnes (Gt) of carbon in 2014 (that equals 35.9 Gt of CO2)
> And climate.gov states that volcanoes emit per year:
> 0.3 ± 0.15 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide.
> But: In British English, a billion used to be equivalent to a million
> million (i.e. 1,000,000,000,000), while in American English it has always
> equated to a thousand million (i.e. 1,000,000,000). British English has now
> adopted the American figure, though, so that a billion equals a thousand
> million in both varieties of English.
> So what is going on with volcanoes and fossil fuel emissions?
> A gigatonne is equal to 1 billion tonnes (1,000,000,000), fossil fuels
> emit ~100 more CO2 than volcanoes.
> > On Nov 3, 2016, at 10:46 PM, Anne Cohen <acohen at whoi.edu> wrote:
> > Global carbon project estimate for 2012 carbon emissions is 8-9 GT
> > 2003 was less than that
> > I don't know where 26.8 comes from?
> > Either way - both estimates are significantly higher than volcano
> > Sent from my iPhone
> >> On Nov 3, 2016, at 2:21 PM, Ruben van Hooidonk <
> ruben.van.hooidonk at noaa.gov> wrote:
> >> Hi,
> >> Here are the numbers provided by USGS:
> >> Volcanoes emit about 200 million tonnes of CO2 a year, the global
> fossil fuel CO2 emissions for 2003 emitted more than 26.8 billion tonnes.
> Thus, not only does volcanic CO2 not dwarf that of human activity, it
> actually comprises less than 1 percent of that value.
> >> We need to to decarbonize our economies now so nature can take its
> >> http://hvo.wr.usgs.gov/volcanowatch/archive/2007/07_02_15.html
> >> Glad I could clear that up.
> >> Ruben
> >>> On Nov 2, 2016, at 2:37 PM, Bill Raymond <billraymond10 at yahoo.com>
> >>> Regarding climate change, a few years ago I looked up in a USGS
> website the contribution of greenhouse gases contributed to the atmosphere
> by burning fossil fuels compared to volcanoes, and it was 6/200 billion
> tons. I don't see that any more but I noticed in the IPCC just about the
> opposite figures, phrased differently. I can't help but wonder why it is
> such a political issue. I say let nature take its course.
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