Iceland volcano gives warming world chance to debunk climate sceptic myths
activity has exploded in their faces with Eyjafjallajokull eruption
the air for our consideration by the
beauty. And we have been intrigued by what a wonderfully complex language
put to bed once and for all that barrel-aged climate sceptic canard which maintains
that volcanoes emit far more carbon dioxide than anthropogenic sources. It’s always
been a favourite, but has been pushed even further up the charts of popularity
in recent months by
and Earth last year.
The atmosphere contains only 0.001 per cent of all carbon at the surface of the
Earth and far greater quantities are present in the lower crust and mantle of
the Earth. Human additions of CO2 to the atmosphere must be taken into perspective.
Over the past 250 years, humans have added just one part of CO2 in 10,000 to the
atmosphere. One volcanic cough can do this in a day.
than the world’s cars and industries combined.” Randerson challenged Plimer on
this point, stating that the
However, when Randerson checked this point with USGS volcanologist Dr Terrence
Gerlach, he received this reply:
I can confirm to you that the “130 times” figure on the USGS website is an estimate
that includes all volcanoes – submarine as well as subaerial … Geoscientists
have two methods for estimating the CO2 output of the mid-oceanic ridges. There
were estimates for the CO2 output of the mid-oceanic ridges before there were
estimates for the global output of subaerial volcanoes.
over the past week has allowed this question to bubble back up to the forefront
of people’s minds. It was enough to trigger the Paris-based AFP news agency
Iceland ‘s Eyjafjoell volcano is emitting between 150,000 and 300,000 tonnes of carbon
dioxide (CO2) per day, a figure placing it in the same emissions league as a small-to-medium
European economy, experts said on Monday.
Assuming the composition of gas to be the same as in an earlier eruption on an
adjacent volcano, “the CO2 flux of Eyjafjoell would be 150,000 tonnes per day,”
Colin Macpherson, an Earth scientist at Britain’s University of Durham, said in
Patrick Allard of the Paris Institute for Global Physics (IPGP) gave what he
described as a “top-range” estimate of 300,000 tonnes per day.
Both insisted that these were only approximate estimates.
Extrapolated over a year, the emissions would place the volcano 47th to 75th
in the world table of emitters on a country-by-country basis, according to a database
at the World Resources Institute (WRI), which tracks environment and sustainable
A 47th ranking would place it above Austria, Belarus, Portugal, Ireland, Finland,
Bulgaria, Sweden, Denmark and Switzerland, according to this list, which relates
Experts stressed that the [ Eyjafjallajokull ] volcano contributed just a tiny
amount – less than 0.3% – of global emissions of greenhouse gases.
around the €14 per tonne mark
daily bill of €4.2m if it were a fully fledged, carbon-trading nation or corporation.
But who would dare get close enough to present it with an invoice?