Volcanic Carbon Dioxide

Volcanoes emit enormous volumes of the two main “greenhouse gases” – water vapour and carbon dioxide.

Erupting volcanoes are big news these days. There are over 1500 active volcanoes which are above sea level and many of these show signs of current activity including explosions, lava flows, gaseous emissions and tremors. On average, there are about five eruptions per year that are above sea level.

However, few people realise that there are more than 200,000 known submarine volcanoes, many of which are active. It is reasonable to estimate that there could be a total of 3 million submarine volcanoes.

Carbon dioxide and methane are abundant gases in the earth’s mantle and they are being continually released to the atmosphere. Volcanic carbon dioxide cannot be distinguished from the carbon dioxide produced by burning carbon fuels like coal.

There are very large deposits of methane calthrate on the continental shelf and lakes of frozen carbon dioxide in the deep ocean. Just one new eruption or earthquake can mobilise these into the atmosphere.

We are continually told about the rising levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, but almost all of the world’s carbon dioxide recording stations are beside active volcanoes such as Mauna Loa, Kilauea and Raoul Island. Is the rise merely nature’s breath?

All of this says, we have no idea how much carbon dioxide nature is adding to the atmosphere. The models used to justify the war on carbon start with dream-time forecasts of world economic activity. These figures drive forecasts of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, which are linked to assumptions and complex formula in a big black box that spits out forecasts of global temperature for a century ahead. No one but an Australian Climate Commissioner could take any notice of these forecasts.

Timothy Casey, an experienced geologist, has produced a well reasoned article entitled Volcanic Carbon Dioxide. It is worth reading at: http://carbon-budget.geologist-1011.net/

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