Listen, uh, nobody panic or anything, but it’s starting to look like over the last million years, natural climate change and the resulting sea-level rise might have increased the number of volcanic eruptions tenfold. But I’m sure that doesn’t mean that increasingly rapid human-caused climate change and sea-level rise will have a similar effect! I mean really, why would it?
Actually, the authors of this new study in the journal Geology have been very quick to say that even if human-made climate change were bumping up volcanic eruptions, we wouldn’t see the effects for centuries. But in the past, periods of rapid sea-level increase have led to drastic increases in volcanic activity. When shifts in Earth’s orbit caused warming and rapid glacial melting, volcanoes erupted five to 10 times as often — and the more rapid the warming, the more eruptions increased.
Coauthor Marion Jenning said it’s definitely possible that anthropogenic climate change could lead to the same kind of increase — but not yet. There’s enough of a lag in the effects that we wouldn’t be seeing more volcanic activity for a couple thousand years. So, you know, your children’s children’s children’s spam and baked beans children might wonder why they’re being inundated with lava, but the internet will surely be destroyed by then, along with the journal Geology. So the fact that it’s our fault can just be our little secret.
- Climate Change May Increase Volcanic Eruptions, LiveScience
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