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Humanity vs Volcanoes- C02-wise
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Old 26 Apr 2009, 15:31   #1 (permalink)
Shas'Vre
 
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Default Humanity vs Volcanoes- C02-wise

Maybe someone can link me to a study or person who is educated or informed in volcanology- to give me a proper ratio:

Humanity's' Carbon Footprint since the industrial age, and its impact on global warming and all that is well known, but I am curious how much of a ratio that entire 300+ years of industrial waste and vehicle emissions compares to... the millions of tons of co2 put out by volcanic eruptions worldwide.. as a natural part of Earths' Carbon cycle?

Is Humanities' CO2 'mess' equivalent to 1 volcanic eruption, say, for instance; what Mt Pinatubo put out? Is it far more? Far LESS? Is our CO2 more than all volcanoes combined? 20 times? 1/20th?? This is the ratio that I am admittedly uninformed about, and it makes me curious.

At the moment I'm suspecting that all this global warming stuff is ignorant alarmist nonsense... as Volcanoes may have done far far more 'damage' to earths atmosphere, and contributed to global warming, than we have... BUT that may just be my ignorance talking. Thus I'm putting this out there.

[hr]

Now, let me describe volcanoes and their role in Earths' Carbon Cycle... as I understand it, and what the Carbon Cycle actually IS.

Carbon Cycle
The life on Earth is Carbon based, and as all life grows and breathes and eats, it takes Carbon from the biosphere, and locks it away in our bones, organs, etc. When the life form dies, most of it decomposes and returns to the biosphere, but a portion does not: our bones, Clamshells, etc. This leftover body parts remains in the earths crust, building up over the eons, into Limestone, and sometimes Oil deposits... but the Carbon is 'tied up'.. locked away. At the voracious rate that Earths Life eats up Carbon and locks it away.. ALL of it would have been used up and locked into seashells and bones a long time ago.. starving Earth of free Carbon, unable to be used by later generations of Life.

Luckily, Earth 'recycles' even that locked away Carbon eventually, and has been doing so the entire history of the planet, through Tectonic Plate Subduction. As the plates of the Earths crust slide under and over one another, the one on the bottom gets melted and reduced to magma as it is pushed further and further down into the Earths Mantle. Along with all the Limestone, Oil, Seashells, Bones, etc. that happens to be buried/fossilized within it. [btw: those 'forever in a landfill' commercial IDIOTS need to read up on plate subduction- NOTHING is forever] As all that 'locked Carbon' gets melted, and reduced to its chemical components, the Carbon is 'freed' and often forms up with similarly freed Oxygen into CO2, which then bubbles to the surface of the Mantle as a heated gas, and tries to escape wherever it can, under its intense heat and pressure and massive amounts. Volcanoes. THUS the carbon is eventually, in violent 'burps', returned to Earths surface, to be reused again and again by its biosphere of living things.
[hr]

So, if volcanoes are always belching out huge, titanic, continental plate scale amounts of CO2 with every eruption... how does that amount.. over the same timeperiod of Humanities' "mess".... compare? Is it a valid question? Has anyone even considered this? Sometimes I wonder.

If Humanity and its CO2 footprint outpaces all the volcanic emissions, or is even enough to throw off the pace of Earths natural Carbon Cycle with a significant percentage 'more than usual'... then indeed everything is as bad as the alarmists say they are.

BUT if our Carbon footprint is insignificant when compared to Mother Natures own Carbon Cycle, and our world is naturally heating up through its own processes and cycles...

.. well, Id really just like to know one way or the other... by someone who is informed enough to give a straight answer to this Ratio between the two.

[aah, the things that stir in my head during bouts of insomnia!! :P ]
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Old 26 Apr 2009, 15:49   #2 (permalink)
Shas'El
 
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Default Re: Humanity vs Volcanoes- C02-wise

Humanity accounts for a fraction of what the volcanoes do, thats a fact,

but nature has a fine balance, one that we don't fit into, so it is entirely possible that our activity is enough to tip the scale, no-one knows if that is the case yet,

Is it worth risking?
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Old 26 Apr 2009, 17:17   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Humanity vs Volcanoes- C02-wise

Oh, Climate change debate, this should be interesting. I haven't done the research, but the climate change thing has been going on for a long time, and the scientific community still hasn't gone "shit guys, we forgot to check the volcanoes!"
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Old 26 Apr 2009, 17:20   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Humanity vs Volcanoes- C02-wise

I still say that, although humans are more than probably respsonsible for global warming, scientists have over estimated how much water is trapped in the ice.
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Old 26 Apr 2009, 17:48   #5 (permalink)
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Global warming is a bad term for it. Climate change is better because while the average tempature is going up, the tempature is not rising everywhere. The biggest problem with climate change is that we really do not know enough about the cause and effect of all human activity, nature's balancing mechanisms, etc. For example, there was this article on the BBC where they found some of the particles that we're putting in the atmosphere is actually helping plants to better absorb carbon dioxide by 10%.

To be honest, the biggest problem with Climate change is not that it's going to fry us, but that it is going to force established habits of ours to change. Cities like New Orleans and New York, Vienna, etc. might not be habitable. Shipping lanes might change for better or worse as rivers change course or dry up or even new ones start flowing. That sort of thing.
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Old 26 Apr 2009, 18:25   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: Humanity vs Volcanoes- C02-wise

Well if we take the CO[sub]2[/sub] parts per million graph;



We know very clearly that volcanoes have no effect whatsoever!!!!

Y'xa'uuk hell...it's not rocket science people. Since 1AD there have been thousands of eruptions, yes? Vesuvius, Pinatubo, Mt. St. Helen's etc. now if these volcanoes contributed to the total amount of CO[sub]2[/sub] in the atmosphere then you would expect the curve to be full of spikes wouldn't you?

:P

C'mon you shouldn't even need to ask this question if you'd ever seen the graph (and considering it's one that put around a lot, you should have!!!).

Next.

Gen
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Old 26 Apr 2009, 18:46   #7 (permalink)
Shas'O
 
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Default Re: Humanity vs Volcanoes- C02-wise

I'm not a volcanologist, for certain, but I am studying geology. We studied the eruption in Laki in 1783. Basically, volcanoes do produce more CO2 than humans but they release it at a greater altitude (blasting it up into the air) which spreads the effects more evenly and over a greater period of time. So the volume is greater but the effects are less.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Genmotty
We know very clearly that volcanoes have no effect whatsoever!!!!
Gen, I'm disappointed. That statement is completely 100% not scientifically correct. We have lots of evidence that volcanic activities do effect climate...at times drastically. The 1783 example is perfect because we have lots of first hand accounts of the changes which occured.

http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/Features/Volcano/

Are volcanos responsible for the current trend? Probably not. But it is indesputable that volcanoes can effect climate more quickly and more broadly than any human activity short of nuclear annihilation.
Quote:
Y'xa'uuk hell...it's not rocket science people. Since 1AD there have been thousands of eruptions, yes? Vesuvius, Pinatubo, Mt. St. Helen's etc. now if these volcanoes contributed to the total amount of CO[sub]2[/sub] in the atmosphere then you would expect the curve to be full of spikes wouldn't you?
Versuvius, Pinatubo and Mt. St. Helens were burps compared to the larger eruptions like the one that occured at Crater Lake or Yellowstone. Mt. St. Hellens was about 1km of terrain errupting as opposed to Yellowstone which was 1000 km. Nothing humans have done so far in history...combined even, would equal that one event.

[hr]
Bottom line is, though, volcanic activity emits millions of tons of CO2 annually. But most of it is emited to high altitudes where it is blown around and makes its way back to earth naturally. Human produced gasses stay at a much lower altitude which traps the gasses and the heat make them more dangerous per unit of measure.
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Old 26 Apr 2009, 19:05   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: Humanity vs Volcanoes- C02-wise

Quote:
Originally Posted by Farseer_Emlyn
Gen, I'm disappointed. That statement is completely 100% not scientifically correct.
No it's not, I should have said 'significally', 'large scale' or 'overall'. But you got the gist of the post...(I hope)...

On the score of naming eruptions, you can correlate those in recorded history to the minor peaks on the graph if you so wish. As I'm not a geologist/volcanologist, please forgive my knowledge of all the eruptions that have taken place.

Having said that, the Parts Per Million graph is the graph of the entire atmosphere. It doesn't matter at what height the CO[sub]2[/sub] ends up it is still included. Even if the eruption is greater than about 4 on the VEI scale, any particulate matter that high, has a good chance not to be coming back down to earth if it had the right escape velocity. As we get our data from ice core samples, yes it is atmosphere close to earths surface that is recorded, and not all the matter that gets ejected out to space, but then what's gone up and not coming down again we shouldn't include as part of the atmospheric content.

What does come down is measured in subsequent years ice cores, as CO[sub]2[/sub] density is enough such that if particulate matter is within heights in/lower than the stratosphere then it should make it's way back down to earth fairly rapidly, due to the density of gasses and the relative kinetic energies of high altitude particles.

EDIT:
External Sources:

Quote:
Originally Posted by [url]http://www.geology.sdsu.edu/how_volcanoes_work/climate_effects.html
[/url]
INFLUENCE ON THE GREENHOUSE EFFECT:

Volcanic eruptions can enhance global warming by adding CO2 to the atmosphere. However, a far greater amount of CO2 is contributed to the atmosphere by human activities each year than by volcanic eruptions. T.M.Gerlach (1991, American Geophysical Union) notes that human-made CO2 are dwarfed the estamated global release of CO2 from volcanoes by at least 150 times. The small amount of global warming caused by eruption-generated greenhouse gases is offset by the far greater amount of global cooling caused by eruption-generated particles in the stratosphere (the haze effect). Greenhouse warming of the earth has been particularly evident since 1980. Without the cooling influence of such eruptions as El Chichon (1982) and Mt. Pinatubo (1991), described below, greenhouse warming would have been more pronounced.
Quote:
Originally Posted by [url]http://www.grist.org/article/volcanoes-emit-more-co2-than-humans
[/url]
(Part of the How to Talk to a Global Warming Skeptic guide)

Objection: One decent-sized volcanic eruption puts more CO2 in the atmosphere than a decade of human emissions. It's ridiculous to think reducing human CO2 emissions will have any effect.

Answer: Not only is this false, it couldn't possibly be true given the CO2 record from any of the dozens of sampling stations around the globe. If it were true that individual volcanic eruptions dominated human emissions and were causing the rise in CO2 concentrations, then these CO2 records would be full of spikes -- one for each eruption. Instead, such records show a smooth and regular trend.
Quote:
Originally Posted by [url]http://www.cotf.edu/ete/modules/volcanoes/vclimate.html
[/url]
Volcanoes & Climate
Volcanic eruptions can alter the climate of the earth for both short and long periods of time. For example, average global temperatures dropped about a degree Fahrenheit for about two years after the eruption of Mount Pinatubo in 1991, and very cold temperatures caused crop failures and famine in North America and Europe for two years following the eruption of Tambora in 1815. Volcanologists believe that the balance of the earth's mild climate over periods of millions of years is maintained by ongoing volcanism. Volcanoes affect the climate through the gases and dust particles thrown into the atmosphere during eruptions. The effect of the volcanic gases and dust may warm or cool the earth's surface, depending on how sunlight interacts with the volcanic material.

Volcanic dust blasted into the atmosphere causes temporary cooling. The amount of cooling depends on the amount of dust put into the air, and the duration of the cooling depends on the size of the dust particles. Particles the size of sand grains fall out of the air in a matter of a few minutes and stay close to the volcano. These particles have little effect on the climate. Tiny dust-size ash particles thrown into the lower atmosphere will float around for hours or days, causing darkness and cooling directly beneath the ash cloud, but these particles are quickly washed out of the air by the abundant water and rain present in the lower atmosphere. However, dust tossed into the dry upper atmosphere, the stratosphere, can remain for weeks to months before they finally settle. These particles block sunlight and cause some cooling over large areas of the earth.

Volcanoes that release large amounts of sulfur compounds like sulfur oxide or sulfur dioxide affect the climate more strongly than those that eject just dust. The sulfur compounds are gases that rise easily into the stratosphere. Once there, they combine with the (limited) water available to form a haze of tiny droplets of sulfuric acid. These tiny droplets are very light in color and reflect a great deal of sunlight for their size. Although the droplets eventually grow large enough to fall to the earth, the stratosphere is so dry that it takes time, months or even years to happen. Consequently, reflective hazes of sulfur droplets can cause significant cooling of the earth for as long as two years after a major sulfur-bearing eruption. Sulfur hazes are believed to have been the primary cause of the global cooling that occurred after the Pinatubo and Tambora eruptions. For many months, a satellite tracked the sulfur cloud produced by Pinatubo. The image shows the cloud about three months after the eruption. It is already a continuous band of haze encircling the entire globe. You can learn more about the cooling effects of sulfur hazes by clicking here.

Volcanoes also release large amounts of water and carbon dioxide. When these two compounds are in the form of gases in the atmosphere, they absorb heat radiation (infrared) emitted by the ground and hold it in the atmosphere. This causes the air below to get warmer. Therefore, you might think that a major eruption would cause a temporary warming of the atmosphere rather than a cooling. However, there are very large amounts of water and carbon dioxide in the atmosphere already, and even a large eruption doesn't change the global amounts very much. In addition, the water generally condenses out of the atmosphere as rain in a few hours to a few days, and the carbon dioxide quickly dissolves in the ocean or is absorbed by plants. Consequently, the sulfur compounds have a greater short-term effect, and cooling dominates. However, over long periods of time (thousands or millions of years), multiple eruptions of giant volcanoes, such as the flood basalt volcanoes, can raise the carbon dioxide levels enough to cause significant global warming.
EDITED:
I would also point out that a nuclear winter would be caused by many eruptions before they caused global warming. Which is another strike against the theory that Volcanoes are more responsible for global warming than humans.

Gen
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Old 26 Apr 2009, 19:38   #9 (permalink)
Shas'Vre
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Genmotty
[snip the dismissiveness]

Back to my original post, let me ask again, using that chart- [assuming that it is true and that greenhouse gasses cannot diffuse their concentrations out of deeper and more pressurized glacial ice over centuries- so of course the most recent glacial ice samples have higher concentrations]

If we did a worldwide census of the CO2 sources from ~1850 to today that represent that alarmist spike of a "whopping" 100 ppm worldwide, specifically that narrow timeframe and measured amount-

How much of it is directly from human industry, and how much from volcanic 'burps' from within that time frame, or other sources (like normal exhalation and forest fires)?

As our grossly polluting coal power plants, natural gas refineries, internal combustion engines, and volcanoes are doing pretty much identical things: They break down fossil remains chemically by burning them, and letting the byproduct gasses loose into our atmosphere- some more directly than others... but still the same end result.

See? Its like blaming pittsburg steel refineries for Acid Rain... then having Mt Pinatubo release 20 million tons of sulpher dioxide and causing acid rain on a much wider and grander scale, and wondering why no ones blaming the volcanoes for the complex flourocarbons littering our troposphere lately. Was it really our hairspray and WD-40 cans? Or volcanoes?

Is it ignorance? Flat out denial? Propaganda spin? -that makes them waggle their fingers only at human industry? How can they say that volcanic eruptions of greenhouse gasses somehow go away after 3 years, yet ours remains indefinately- to the doom of our planet? I just dont get it.
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Old 26 Apr 2009, 20:23   #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: Humanity vs Volcanoes- C02-wise

A ) Rain has always been acidic. Most rain is carbonic acid (H[sub]2[/sub]CO[sub]3[/sub]). That's 100% natural. Acid Rain, however, occurs when CO[sub]2[/sub] or H[sub]2[/sub]CO[sub]4 [/sub]gets trapped around the layer of clouds. This leads to heavily increased amounts of acidity which can quickly kill foliage or raise acidity of water to the point of killing organisms.

B ) Volcanoes contribute huge amounts of CO[sub]2[/sub] and SO[sub]2[/sub] into the atmosphere. However, a large amount of this gas is pushed (by heat and by pressure) above the cloud layers and into the outer atmosphere. This typically leads to this gas being moved around, thinned out, and gradually making its way back to the biosphere.

C ) Human pollution doesn't travel as far into the atmosphere so it returns to the biosphere much more quickly and in much more concentrated levels. That's why human pollution is worse than volcanoes.

D ) Ice Core data will probably be changing in the near future. There's a lot of research happening around archaea & bacteria in ice cores. These anoxic organisms metabolize CO[sub]2[/sub] and expel O[sub]2[/sub]. This presents an obvious problem. But we simply didn't know about them until about a decade ago and we've only now begun to really understand how widespread they are.
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