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June 23, 2010     The Julian News
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12 The Julian News EARTH TALK00 link between increased volcanic activity--such as the recent eruptions in Iceland, Alaska and elsewhere--and global warming? -- Ellen McAndrew, via e-marl It's impossible to pin isolated natural phenomena--like an individual volcanic eruption-- on global warming, but some researchers insist that there is a correlation between the two in CONTRACTORS General Contractor Electrical , I us Caa s ^ New Construction !_11 " y'() p .. 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Retaining Walls Herman Lioense - 938001-A .... INC lls- The amount of greenhouse gases emitted by even a large and ongoing vdcanic eruption is miniscule compared to industrial and automotive carbon emissions caused by human activity. Global warming can, however, help trigger volcanic eruptions by melting the ice that keeps rock from turning to magma. Pictured: The Arenal Volcano in Costa Rica, one of the 10 most active volcanoes in the world. photo by Frank Kehren, courtesy Flickr some instances. "Global warming melts ice and this can influence magmatic systems," reports Freysteinn Sigmundsson of the Nordic Volcanological Centre at the UniverSity of Iceland. Her research with Carolina Pagli of the University of Leeds in England suggests that rocks cannot expand to turn into magma--the primary "feedstock" for volcanic eruptions--when they are under the pressure of a big ice cap pushing down on them. As the theory goes, melting ice caps relieve that pressure and allow the rocks to become magma. This in turn increases the chances of larger and/or more frequent eruptions in affected regions, from Iceland to Alaska to Patagonia to Antarctica. As for Icelan( specifically, the eruption of Mt. Ejyafjallaj5kull that shut down some air travel for weeks this past spring cannot be blamed on changing climate: That volcano lies under a relatively small icecap which would not exert nough pressure to affect the creation of magma. But Sigmundsson and Pagli found that the melting of about a tenth of Iceland's biggest icecap, Vatnajokull, over the last century caused the land to rise an inch or so per year and led to the growth of an underground mass of magma measuring a third of a cubic mile. Similar processes, they say, led to a surge in volcanic eruptions in Iceland at the end of the last ice age, and similarly increased volcanic activity is expected to occur there in the future. On the flip side, volcanic eruptions can exacerbate the ongoing effects of climate change: Already retreating glaciers can lose all their ice when something below them blows. Of course, many volcanoes around the world are not subject to pressure from ice caps, and scientists stress that there is little if any evidence linking global warming to eruptions in such situations. Some have theorized that large volcanic eruptions contribute to global warming by spewing large amounts of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases into the stratosphere. But the amount of greenhouse gases emitted by even a large and ongoing volcanic eruption is but a drop in the bucket in comparison to our annual output of industrial and automotive carbon emissions. According to the U.S. Geological Survey, greenhouse gas emissions from volcanoes make up less than one percent of those generated by human endeavors. A!so, ash clouds and sulfur dioxide released from volcanoes shield some sunlight from reaching the Earth and as such can have a cooling effect on the planet. The 1991 eruption of Mt. Pinatubo in the Philippines--a much larger June 23, 2010 I,,l0000l00oJ00ca LEONe Tr REnceEqCOince0000l0088 11 : Le;C;en SmUlnge ;td;speCce an d Pla n nin g * Hazardous Removal and Precision Felling * Ornamental Pruning and Lacing * Brush Clearing and Chipping FREE ESTIMATES Licensed and Bonded Fully Insured for Your Protection ERIC DAUBER H: 760-765-2975 C: 760-271-9585 eo Box 254 JULIAN, CA. 92036 License #945348 WE-8690A Small, Beginning land Advanced Classes Now Forming Open to everyone over 16 ,.,en.,veWee00en' 00ro, roms .... :::, :-; ., ,...: - ::.:, One-On-One Instrud=on '.':.., ,  k  ,.Call for course descriptions, schedules and costs 7 215 1711 All classes held at Julian location Hands on instrudion "You learn by doing" Hand Tool Use, Maintenance, Sharpening R.F.D. IF "rflOSE OF hEJ £E4TED Ol'rE LEFT LOOK OLW hOL WIkIDOWS P.IOt4-r NOVd hOIJ'LL GETA GREAT Vl)/OF T-tE E.T LITrLE FAR/v by Mike Marland *1 r;,.,., DON'TI _'F DO! ) ,.....,. i _J eruption than what occurred recently in Iceland--caused an average cooling of half a degree centigrade worldwide during the following year. Regardless, single volcanic eruptions, even if they last for weeks or months, are unlikely to send enough gas or ash up into the skies to have any long term effect on the planet's climate. CONTACTS: Nordic Volcanological Centre at the University of Iceland, www2. norvol.hi.is; U.S. Geological Survey, www.usgs.gov. GOT AN ENVIRONMENTAL QUESTION? Send it to: EarthTalk c/o E/The Environmental Magazine P.O. Box 5098 Westport, CT 06881 e-mail: earthtatk@emagazine. com. or submit it at: www.emagazine.com/ earthtalk/thisweek/ Harnessing The Atom To Make A Better World (NAPSA)-Those looking for an exciting and rewarding career may consider opportunities in nuclear science and technology. Nuclear professionals can be found working in a number of settings, including government, academia, research laboratories and private industry. For instance, nuclear engineers are engaged in areas such as nuclear medicine, nuclear energy, space exploration, agricultural and biological research, food irradiation, and archaeology and paleontology, to name a few. They also command the third- highest median income among the engineering professions-over $100,000 a year. There is a high demand for graduates of nuclear engineering programs with either B.S. or M.S. degrees. For more information, visit the American Nuclear Society's website at www.ans.orglpilnpl careers/ or call the Outreach Department at (708) 352-6611.