Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Global Warming: A Natural Event

With the eruption of Mount Augustine, I went back and found this weblog entry I made. Given today's news story from German scientists, the debate turns. Augustine erupts

Monday, June 14, 2004

In today's Anchorage Daily News Opinion section, Bill Sherwonit wrote an opinion piece on Global Warming.

First, to his statements.

As for human influence, Weller and most other climate-change experts have concluded "the evidence is overwhelming that much of the global warming is due to man-made greenhouse gases" produced mostly by the burning of fossil fuels. Though scientists are not hollering that the sky is falling, Weller says "we need to be realistic and assess the risks, vulnerabilities, and opportunities associated with global warming."

The evidence to this statement, is dubious at best.

During my enlistment in the Air Force, I was a meteorologist. I spent my entire time here in Alaska as a meteorologist and studied all of the climatological data and upper air soundings and utilized Nested Grid Models (NGMs) that incorporated data that is skewed to show a warming. The result is, there is no definite conclusion on how much the Arctic Region has warmed.

When Mt Pinatubo erupted and Mt redoubt erupted, I personally briefed NASA pilots and provided upper air soundings (Skew-Ts) in their missions. NASA conducted missions to retrieve upper air samples of the ash and the gases that were in the upper stratosphere. The reason; it is well known that volcanic eruptions and the gases that are present will break down the ozone layer.

An analysis of sulfur dioxide from the Redoubt eruptions can be found here.

Analysis of individual eruptions can be found here.

The USGS has a study that confirms that volcanic eruptions do indeed affect the climate and the ozone layer. That article can be found here.

Ozone depletion promoted by volcanic sulfur aerosols. The sulfate aerosols also promote complex chemical reactions on their surfaces that alter chlorine and nitrogen chemical species in the stratosphere. This effect, together with increased stratospheric chlorine levels from chlorofluorocarbon (CFC) pollution, generates chlorine monoxide (ClO), which destroys ozone (O3).

NASA's own study and scientific data supports the USGS conclusion. That study can be found here.

Eruptions with a volcanic explosively index (VEI) of 4 or higher produce significant stratospheric injections. Sulfur dioxide, the most important atmospheric component of volcanic emissions, is converted into sulfate aerosols after injection into the stratosphere. More than one hundred eruptions with VEIs equal to or greater than 4 are thought to have occurred in the past 500 years. In Figure 1, the historical record of volcanic eruptions is inferred from the aerosol optical depth measurements. However, only about half of all large eruptions are sulfur-rich. Both the 1982 El Chichon (VEI = 4) and 1991 Mt. Pinatubo (VEI = 5) eruptions were sulfur-rich, producing volcanic clouds in the stratosphere which lasted for a number of years. In Figure 2, the time evolution of the Pinatubo volcanic plume is shown 1 day, 1 month and 2 months after the eruption. It is clear that volcanic aerosols are abundant in the Arctic region within a few months after the eruption. On the other hand, the relatively sulfur-poor eruption of Mt. St. Helens (VEI = 5) in 1980 contributed very little sulfate mass to the stratospheric aerosol layer. Overall, large sulfate-rich eruptions are common. Therefore it is important to understand to what extent they could affect the Arctic ozone layer in the next 30 years or so while anthropogenic chlorine levels are still sufficiently high (~3 ppbv) to cause severe ozone depletion.

Model simulations have shown that the early rapid growth of the Antarctic "ozone hole" in the early 1980s may have been influenced in part by a number of large volcanic eruptions. The goal of this study is to explore how a large eruption could affect Arctic ozone loss processes, such as chlorine activation and denitrification, in a cold year within the current range of natural variability. It is projected that the Arctic climate may be colder in the future as a result of greenhouse gas emissions and their built-up in the lower troposphere. Thus, we also investigate how a possible large eruption could affect ozone loss in a colder Arctic climate. In this project we use a chemistry-microphysics model (the IMPACT model) to investigate how the continuous presence of volcanic cloudy-like conditions in the Arctic can affect ozone loss processes, such as chlorine activation and denitrification, in a cold year such as the winter of 1999-2000.

Man made aerosols are not injected into the upper stratosphere, there is no mechanical means to do so. This fact alone disproves what the writer tries to lead one to believe.

Other natural occuring events that are affecting the climate are submarine volcanos.

This natural event has not been studied to its fullest. There has been no complete study done to see the effect the gases that are injected into the oceans have when those gases raise to the surface and enter the earth's atmosphere at the surface and lower levels.

Seismic Monitor

The geatest area of volcanoes both above ground and submarine are around Indonesia. Indonesia contains over 130 active volcanoes, more than any other country on earth and when you look for the highest sea surface temperatures, Indonesia and the area east has the highest temperatures.

To see a complete analysis on the debate over global warming you can go here.

As the political races start to come to the front, the Kyoto Protocol will be debated. The argument that Human activity is the sole reason or even the major reason for global warming is patently false.

"There's no greater threat to Alaska's ecosystems and indigenous cultures than global warming. Period," says Deborah Williams, executive director of the Alaska Conservation Foundation.

It is unfortunate that misinformation is presented as facts in opinions that serve an agenda.

LONDON (Reuters) - German scientists have discovered a new source of methane, a greenhouse gas that is second only to carbon dioxide in its impact on climate change.
The culprits are plants.

They produce about 10 to 30 percent of the annual methane found in the atmosphere, according to researchers at the Max-Planck Institute for Nuclear Physics in Heidelberg, Germany.

The scientists measured the amount of methane released by plants in controlled experiments. They found it increases with rising temperatures and exposure to sunlight.

"Significant methane emissions from both intact plants and detached leaves were observed ... in the laboratory and in the field," Dr Frank Keppler and his team said in a report in the journal Nature.

Methane, which is produced by city rubbish dumps, coal mining, flatulent animals, rice cultivation and peat bogs, is one of the most potent greenhouse gases in terms of its ability to trap heat.

Concentrations of the gas in the atmosphere have almost tripled in the last 150 years. About 600 million tonnes worldwide are produced annually.

The scientists said their finding is important for understanding the link between global warming and a rise in greenhouse gases.

It could also have implications for the Kyoto Protocol, which calls for developed countries to cut their emissions of greenhouse gases by 5.2 percent below 1990 levels by 2008-12.

Keppler and his colleagues discovered that living plants emit 10 to 100 times more methane than dead plants.

Scientists had previously thought that plants could only emit methane in the absence of oxygen.
David Lowe, of the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research in New Zealand, said the findings are startling and controversial.

"Keppler and colleagues' finding helps to account for observations from space of incredibly large plumes of methane above tropical forests," he said in a commentary on the research.
But the study also poses questions, such as how such a potentially large source of methane could have been overlooked and how plants produced it.

"There will be a lively scramble among researchers for the answers to these and other questions," Lowe added.

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