The climate change conversation is almost entirely focussed on greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from human industry, but rarely are other natural influences discussed. Professor Wyss Yim brings to light the influence of volcanic and subliminal geothermal activity on ocean and atmospheric heating. He has kindly granted us permission to post these papers for your consideration.

Volcanoes and disastrous storms

During February 2010 two successive disastrous East Atlantic winter storms, with torrential rain and high winds resulting in severe flooding and heavy death tolls, were exacerbated by the Soufriére Hills eruption in Montserrat, Caribbean on February 11th.

The best time for achieving a better understanding of climate change is surely the present, because we have both instrumental records and satellite records for verification. It is therefore somewhat surprising that relatively few Earth scientists are involved in ‘modern’ climate change research.

Recently a state-of-the-art computer model study published in the journal Science by M.A. Bender and colleagues predicted that the number of strong storms in the western Atlantic could double by the end of the century through anthropogenic warming. However, the natural variability of volcanic eruptions, which are difficult to predict, has not been taken into consideration.

In the present study, evidence is presented on a relatively minor volcanic eruption during early 2010 in the generation of frontal activity winter storms causing severe flooding and heavy death tolls in the East Atlantic based on the study of satellite records and media reports.

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Explanation for the northern Pacific Blob

The Blob, the name given to a large mass of surficial warm water about 2.5°C higher than normal in the northern Pacific Ocean, was first detected in late 2013. It has continued to spread and persisted until early 2016. This abnormal oceanic condition has an important role in the abnormal weather conditions experienced in the Pacific Coast. Its cause has remained a mystery until now. Submarine volcanic eruptions are an important natural means for the switching on of hot seawater in oceans. In this report, the timing of such an event is used to explain the Blob appearing in the northern Pacific Ocean from autumn 2013 persisting into 2016.

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Geothermal heat and climate variability

This article is based on a talk by Professor Wyss Yim (Geology 1971-74) to the Global Warming Policy Foundation in Westminster, London on August 29, 2018.

Geothermal heat released through terrestrial and submarine volcanic eruptions is an underestimated cause of natural climate variability. Satellites since the early 1980s and ARGO ocean profiling floats since the early 2000s are providing observational records that enable us to study the influence of geothermal heat on regional climate. Both cooling and warming of the atmosphere and the hydrosphere as well as severe weather events can be caused by volcanoes. During large terrestrial eruptions, high plumes inject ash and sulphur-rich particles into the troposphere and stratosphere causing warming initially, followed by cooling. Large amounts of gases including carbon dioxide can also be released into the atmosphere. Lavas flowing into oceans warm the seawater below the surface. Studies based on observation records have shown that the natural release of geothermal heat was responsible for recent climate change including the long-lasting 2014-2016 ENSO (El Niño–Southern Oscillation) and Arctic sea ice variability during the past decade.

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Climatic impacts of the SW Indian Ocean Blob

Climate has always changed throughout Earth’s geological history. The present study is another investigation of a submarine volcanic eruption causing regional ocean warming as a cause of climate change over and above anthropogenic carbon dioxide, in true scientific tradition.

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