Volcanoes contribute to West Antarctic glacial melting

krakatau volcanoGeothermal activity was previously underestimated

By: Ian Lang

Everyone knows that volcanoes are exceptionally hot things – that’s why no one expects to find a glacier near, say, Hawaii. However, nowhere on Earth is 100% insulated from geothermal activity: Researchers from the University of Texas at Austin have determined that subglacial volcanic activity, along with climate change, is contributing to the melting of the West Antarctic ice sheet.

The findings significantly change the understanding of conditions beneath the West Antarctic Ice Sheet where accurate information has previously been unobtainable.

“It’s the most complex thermal environment you might imagine,” said co-author Don Blankenship, a senior research scientist at UTIG and Schroeder’s Ph.D. adviser. “And then you plop the most critical dynamically unstable ice sheet on planet Earth in the middle of this thing, and then you try to model it. It’s virtually impossible.”

Read the rest At: Daily Digest News

  • I posted this because I recall someone laughing at me when I posted something that claimed there was volcanic activity in the Antarctic that was melting the ice. I think it was RNH, and others who just scoffed, and berated me for even suggesting it. Well? Here you go. Laugh it up now.
    The author of this article is obviously a firm believer in globalwarmingclimatechangedisruption, but I, who think globalwarmingclimatechangedisruption is bunk, suspect that 100% of the melting is caused by volcanic activity. But that’s just me. 🙂

  • david

    Last night’s episode of astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson’s hit series, “Cosmos,” finally addressed the issue of climate change head-on, taking down a number of the most insidious myths propagated by climate deniers in the process.

    Like, for example, those “damn volcanoes” — maybe it’s them, and not the coal and oil we burn, that’s causing the rise in atmospheric CO2.

    Every big eruption of Italy’s Mount Etna, Tyson concedes, sends millions of tons of CO2 into the atmosphere. But even the largest estimate of carbon contributed by volcanic activity puts it at about 500 million tons per year, he explains: “That’s not even 2 percent of the 30 billion tons of CO2 that our civilization is cranking out every year.”

    “And funny thing,” Tyson adds, “the measured increase in CO2 in the atmosphere tallies with the known amount we’re dumping there by burning coal, oil and gas.”

    http://www.salon.com/2014/06/02/neil_degrasse_tyson_destroys_more_climate_myths_yes_were_the_problem/

    • jj

      Does anyone know what the volume of natural CO2 release is worldwide, including all ocean and land surfaces? adding those figures would give a more meaningful representation of anthropogenic CO2 contribution as opposed to just isolating volcanic and geothermal activity.
      I have read where total CO2 in atmosphere is around 0.37% of which human activities contribute 0.12%. This is miniscule by any standard.
      Water vapor-a far more powerful and prolific ghg contributes 95%.
      Also CO2 was originally thought to be a long lived(100 yrs+) trace gas but recent studies have shown it lingers for 5-6yrs only.
      The question is one of whether the early models took this into consideration and whether inputting the new findings alter the results.

  • Hey, this isn’t about CO2 from volcanoes. This is about heat melting a glacier in Antarctica from volcanic activity below the glacier.
    Besides I don’t know if we really even know how much CO2 is being added by natural sources. Measurements are not 100% accurate. A lot of it is guesses. What I mean by that is the measurements of gases in the atmosphere are taken by samples. We think we can accurately extrapolate from those samples what the atmospheric composition is, and we think that these gases are well mixed, but I don’t think that we know this for a fact. Which is why I call it a guess. If the person making the guess is a believer in globalwarmingclimatechangedisruption, then it’s going to be low, and if the guesser is not a believer in globalwarmingclimatechangedisruption, then it would be higher. But I don’t think anyone can say with any certainty how much CO2 is added to the atmosphere by natural sources. In fact, I don’t see how anyone can say how much is added by Man because we don’t really know what the baseline natural contribution is. It’s all guesswork, which is not science.
    And then we have the fact that there has been no warming for 18 years. So………….

  • Rob N. Hood

    Are you/they “guessing” that a volcano is melting ice in Antarctica? Seems so.

    • Huh? Oh, Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!(?) You funny guy. I think I dislocated my kneecap what with that knee slapper.

    • Do you even bother reading the stories before commenting? I don’t think you’ve read this one.

  • Rob N. Hood

    Well you mentioned guess work and it seemed to me the volcano theory is just that. I’m not saying it has nothing to do with melting that’s occurring, but even the article indicates climate change as the “other” factor. Sure great to see your jollies so easily, must be nice.

    • The volcano theory? Where in the story does it say that? In fact, if you read the story it says that it was in a study that was published in a peer-reviewed journal. And I wonder how “climate change” is melting the ice when the average high temperature in Antarctica is -49 deg. C. So yeah, I think it is probably more likely that geothermal heat is more responsible than climate change because even if the average temperature of Antarctica were to raise 6 deg. C. that would make it -44 deg. C. average. That’s still really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really effing cold!!!! Think man!

  • Rob N. Hood

    So you don’t know what the word theory means? And I didn’t say geothermal or even volcano activity had no effect. Plus, according to your logic above, there would be no melting at all except for the geothermal reasons. Is that what you’re implying, either intentionally or not?

    • Well there may be factors other than temperature like wind patterns, ocean currents, and the like, but other than the temperature of the ice reaching and rising above 0 deg. C. I don’t know how else it could melt. So yes, I believe, albeit in my unscientific point of view, that if there were no geothermal action below that ice there would be nothing of note going on there, and the global warming crowd would be focused on something else that they can blame on mankind.

  • jj

    Strange how Eastern Antarctic ice sheet continuous growth during a so called warming period is conveniently ignored.
    It speaks loudly about the AGW apologists that they won’t acknowledge that geothermal heat from a volcano can melt ice.

  • commonsensesd

    Quick, someone call the green Nazis and but a stop to this factual story before the minions read it.

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