Global Cooling and Volcanism

After viewing this chart the first time I always wondered what role vulcanism played in the Little Ice Age and other global cooling events.

Volcanic activity

I have noodled the idea for years that sun spots, or lack of spots, have influenced the climate of the planet and that there was some connection between solar activity and vulcanism on the earth. Not finding any highly evident connection, I just accepted the idea that volcanism was cyclical and influenced the global temperature.

That is until I say this graphic and read Willis Eschenbach Stacking Up the Volcanos post


Willis’ Conclusion:

Well, I’d say that this is very strong evidence that the global temperature is not at the mercy of changes in forcing as is generally believed. Volcanic eruptions clearly and measurably reduce the incoming sunlight due to volcanic aerosols both reflecting and absorbing solar energy.

However, this does not cause a corresponding reduction in global average temperature. Instead, the climate system responds to reductions in forcing from eruptions by increasing the amount of energy entering the system, as well as by reducing the heat loss from the surface, in order to stabilize and maintain the surface temperature within a fairly narrow range (e.g. ± 0.3°C over the 20th century).

Willis’ full post is HERE.

Following Willis’s analysis of global temperatures on this page and here I have to rethink the whole issue of solar and volcano influenced climate change.   Your thoughts? 


Are El Ninos Fueled By Deep-Sea Geological Heat Flow?

El Niño and La Niña weather patterns have a significant impact on California climate. This illustration shows the drought impacts.


Long-term La Niña periods have been associated with long-term droughts in the southwest lasting 200, 90 and 55 years. More specifically severe droughts from AD1021 to 1051, AD1130 to 1180, AD1240 to 1265, AD1360 to 1365.

I often wondered what was the controlling mechanism that generated long-term La Niña conditions with few La Niño conditions. Plate Climatology Theory may be one possible answer, the generation of La Niña events by undersea volcanic activity.

I found this article on Plate Climatology most interesting.


Geologically induced “Eruptive” warm burst that helps generate 2014-2015 El Nino.

All El Ninos originate at the same fixed “Point Source” located east of Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands. Fixed point sources are typical of geological features, and not typical of ever moving atmospheric or ocean current energy sources.

The Papua New Guinea / Solomon Island area is the most geologically active (volcanic eruptions and earthquakes), and complex deep-ocean regions on earth.

The shape/map pattern of El Nino sea surface temperature anomalies are unique / one of a kind. These shapes do not match every changing atmospheric or ocean current shapes/map patterns.

The El Nino sea surface temperature anomalies have “linear” and “intense” boundaries inferring that the energy source is fixed at one point, and is very powerful.

The shape/distribution pattern of super-heated and chemically charged fluid flow from fixed point source deep-ocean hydrothermal vents is a very good mini-analogy of the larger El Nino ocean warming shapes/distribution patterns.

The shape/distribution pattern of super-heated and chemically charged fluid flow from fixed point source large continental/dry land volcanic eruptions is a fair analogy of El Nino ocean warming patterns.

The amount of energy needed to generate an El Nino can be mathematically modeled using a 20-by-30-mile volcanically/earthquake-active deep-sea area (“point source”). The measured energy released from the Yellowstone Plateau, a 20-by-30-mile area, is a good mathematical analogy.

El Ninos do not occur in a predictable historical pattern, rather they occur randomly. This is indicative of a geological forces origin such as volcanic eruptions which are not predictable.

El Nino-like events do not occur elsewhere in Pacific. Why? If they are atmospheric in origin, there should at least be other mini-El Ninos elsewhere. There are none.

La Niñas originate from the same fixed point source as El Ninos. This implies both are geological in nature. La Niñas represents the cooling fluid flow phase from a geological feature.

Atmospherically based El Nino computer prediction models consistently fail, likely because they are modeling the “effects” of geologically heated oceans and not the root “cause” of the El Ninos.

Historical records indicate that the first “recorded” El Nino occurred in 1525 observed by Spanish explorers. Other studies suggest strong ancient El Ninos ended Peruvian civilizations.

The main point here is that strong El Ninos are natural, and not increasing in relationship to global warming as contended by many activist climate scientists.

Your thoughts?  Does this make sense?  Could sunspots have an influence on plate tectonics?

Future Volcanic Eruptions Will Screw With Climate Change. . .

Peter Hess at Inverse

Climate change doesn’t happen in a vacuum. Many factors contribute to it, not the least of which is volcanic activity. And while you probably think of a volcano in terms of the heat produced, the gas and dust it emits actually affect climate change a lot more than you might think.

In a study published Tuesday in Nature Communications, scientists at the National Center for Atmospheric Research report that major volcanic eruptions could cause more disruption to the global climate than they have in the past. By examining the conditions that followed the eruption of the Indonesian volcano Mount Tambora in 1815, the Boulder, Colorado scientists predict what would happen if this type of major eruption occurred in 2085.

The potential alterations to the climate will not be in the Earth’s favor. While the scientists predict that the cooling that will follow a future eruption of that scale would be even more extreme, it will not offset the effects of a warming climate. Furthermore, they predict that the eruption will disrupt the water cycle, decreasing global precipitation.

The effects of a “volcanic winter” occur as the ash and smoke from an eruption obscure rays from the sun, decreasing their ability to heat the Earth. When Mount Tambora erupted in 1815, thousands of people died instantly, and it is considered the most destructive eruption on Earth in 10,000 years. The dust and gas it emitted into the atmosphere altered global climate for a year afterward, which is why 1816 is known as “The Year Without a Summer.” Global temperatures dipped so severely that crops failed, even in places far away from the volcano. Farms in the northern United States suffered frost damage in August, as did farms in Europe. The massive volcanic eruption triggered a global subsistence crisis, which is estimated to have killed an additional 10,000 people.

Using computer climate models, the researchers of the new study concluded that, if an eruption like Mount Tambora’s happens in 2085, the Earth will cool up to 40 percent more than the 1815 eruption, assuming current rates of climate change continue. However, they also predict that the cooling will be spread out over several years.

The reason the temperature change will so drawn out, they explain, is because ocean temperature is becoming increasingly stratified — that is, separated into layers based on temperature. As this happens, the surface water in the ocean will be increasingly less able to moderate the cooling effects of the eruption, causing a longer and more severe cooling event. Because the cooling in 1815-1816 occurred at a time when ocean temperature was not as stratified, it was absorbed to some degree by the water.

Read the rest of the article HERE.

A massive hole just opened up in Antarctica’s ice and scientists can’t explain it

antarctic hole

Thanks to its usefulness as an indicator of how badly humans are messing up the Earth with global warming, scientists like to keep a pretty close eye on the ice in Antarctica. Now, a massive hole the size of Lake Superior has appeared many miles inland from where the ice meets the ocean, and scientists have little concrete explanation as to why it’s there.

The hole, which is called a polynya, is incredibly puzzling because of its odd behavior. This isn’t the first time it’s been spotted, having appeared last year for a brief period as well, and long before that it was detected back in the 1970s. However, it disappeared for several decades before showing back up, throwing a huge kink in many scientific explanations for its existence.


Could the story above be related to this story below on undersea volcanos?

More than one million underwater volcanoes – Oregon State University

According to Oregon State University (OSU), there may be more than one million underwater volcanoes. Here’s how their website puts it:

“If an estimate of 4,000 volcanoes per million square kilometers on the floor of the Pacific Ocean is extrapolated for all the oceans than there are more than a million submarine (underwater) volcanoes. Perhaps as many as 75,000 of these volcanoes rise over half a mile (1 kilometer) above the ocean floor.”

Your thoughts? Are they related?

Explosive Volcanism Triggered the Little Ice Age

Headline at Ice Age Now blog:

Volcanism alone can explain the Little Ice Age (LIA), researchers insist. Low sunspot activity is not the culprit.

Precisely dated records of ice-cap growth from Arctic Canada and Iceland show that “Little Ice Age summer cold and ice growth began abruptly between 1275 and 1300 AD, followed by a substantial intensification 1430–1455 AD,” researchers found.These intervals of sudden ice growth coincide with two of the most volcanically perturbed half-centuries of the past millennium, the study shows. “Explosive volcanism produces abrupt summer cooling at these times.”“Our results suggest that the onset of the LIA can be linked to an unusual 50-year-long episode with four large sulfur-rich explosive eruptions, each with global sulfate loading >60 Tg.

”Once the ice age was triggered, cold summers were maintained by sea-ice/ocean feedbacks long after volcanic aerosols were removed. the authors assert. “Large changes in solar irradiance are not required.

Full Post is HERE.
The original research document is HERE.

“Abrupt onset of the Little Ice Age triggered by volcanism and sustained by sea-ice/ocean feedbacks,” published on 31 January 2012

From a comment on the Ice Age Now Post:

From what I see on this page it sounds like the researchers are not aware of what causes the increased volcanic activity and earthquakes in the first place. Namely a very weak solar cycle is directly linked to a substantial increase in volcanic activity. The “experts” are still having a hard time connecting the dots.

I have published the graphic below several times showing an increase in volcanic activity during grand minimums. The question is still open, how does a quiet sun cause an increase in volcanic activity on the earth?


Your thoughts are most welcome?  What is the solar connection to earthquakes on the planet? It looks like the sudden cool down starts before the plethora of volcanic eruptions on the chart. Does the cooling cause eruptions?


Sunspots and Volcanos?[Updated]

Anthony Mengotto in a comment brought up and interesting point, the sun is growing quiet, while volcanism is increasing. I have always wondered it there was a connection. Does vulcanism fluctuate with the increase and decrease of sunspots? The Smithsonian/USGS Weekly reports go back to the winter of 2000, which covers the Solar Cycle 23 peak and Solar Cycle 24 peak. This data allowed me to take a median date for the peaks and compare with the number of active volcanos. I did the same for Solar Cycle 23 minimum and the most recent measurement as Solar Cycle 24 seeks the minimum. The results are in the chart below.


It looks like there could be a relationship, high spots lower vulcanism, fewer spots higher vulcanism.

I picked the mid-point of the high spot count and low spots just to test the idea. There was a lot of variation in the numbers, so a more valid analysis might be to pick four fixed points in each year and plot the results on a graph of the sunspots. Plus, minimum is not until 2019 -2020.  I will use this analysis as a Python learning project, so stay tuned.

Readers thoughts are most welcome.

Update: this is the chart that got me thinking about grand minimums and volcanos:

Volcanic activity

Summer of 1816 in New Hampshire: A Tale of Two Freezes

Ric Werme writing at Watt Up With That has an interesting weather story that takes place during the Dalton Minimum. The article is quite long and he provides this Executive Summary:

  • The proximate cause of the cold weather in 1816 is the explosion of Mt Tambora in April 1815. This may have been the largest volcanic explosion in recorded human history and lofted a lot of sulfuric acid aerosols into the stratosphere. However, 1816 is just one of several cold years blamed on volcanoes, solar activity, and other causes.
  • There were warm days, even a few hot days. There were even some warm months mixed in with the cold ones, so the result was that the annual average temperature wasn’t very far from average. In this and other cases, small deviations can add up to a major impact on the length of the growing season, number of growing degree days, etc.
  • I think the weather pattern was most affected by high latitude cooling and the polar jet stream (the storm track) shifting southward. South of the storm track there was less cooling, but they were still affected by weather systems from the north. There are signs that the jet stream had a “meridional” flow which allows polar air to surge south and tropical air to surge north.The effect of volcanic aerosols is poorly documented, likely because its poorly understood. Pretty much all of the sources talk about the amount of aerosol and the effect on global temperatures. However, I think the effects vary with latitude and that had a major effect on temperatures at different latitudes and the intensity of various weather events.
  • What set 1816 apart from other years were two freeze events. If frosts in June and August hadn’t happened, the harvest would have been very different, and few people would write about the weather of 1816. There was plenty of other cold weather in 1816, so this essay is way too long and needs this executive summary
  • A claim that snow or frosts occurred in every month of the year does not hold for parts of New Hampshire in July. There may have been such events in western Connecticut or Massachusetts, or even Virginia, but some descriptions may be exaggerated. It doesn’t affect the outcome of the year, as most everything that made it through July was killed in August.
  • 1816 set into motion changes in New Hampshire that probably would have happened later, but traces of them still exist today.

The full article is HERE.

I found the comments on the article equally interesting.  My grandmother Thomas was an avid gardener and had a kitchen garden all of her adult life. She kept a record of the last spring frost and the first fall frost in Nevada County CA and adjusted her planting and harvesting based on the record of the past.   An 1812 summer with late and early frosts would have thrown her for a loop.