Time Magazine: Global Warming Causes Volcanoes

All this time, I thought it was the other way around; that volcanoes contributed to the global climate. But apparently not. Volcanoes are actually caused by global warming itself. So, if you’re a conservative who doesn’t believe in all the global warming hype, then you’re partially to blame for all the destructive volcanoes around the world.

The study which the Time magazine article used as its premise only dealt with Iceland. But leave it to Time magazine to extrapolate from that and assume that this must be the case for the entire world if it’s the case with Iceland:

Now, you can add yet another problem to the climate change hit list: volcanoes. That’s the word from a new study conducted in Iceland and accepted for publication in Geophysical Research Letters. The finding is bad news not just for one comparatively remote part of the world, but for everywhere.

Iceland has always been a natural lab for studying climate change. It may be spared some of the punishment hot, dry places like the American southwest get, but when it comes to glacier melt, few places are hit harder. About 10% of the island nation’s surface area is covered by about 300 different glaciers—and they’re losing an estimated 11 billion tons of ice per year. Not only is that damaging Icelandic habitats and contributing to the global rise in sea levels, it is also—oddly—causing the entire island to rise. And that’s where the trouble begins.

[…]

“As the glaciers melt, the pressure on the underlying rocks decreases,” Compton said in an e-mail to TIME. “Rocks at very high temperatures may stay in their solid phase if the pressure is high enough. As you reduce the pressure, you effectively lower the melting temperature.” The result is a softer, more molten subsurface, which increases the amount of eruptive material lying around and makes it easier for more deeply buried magma chambers to escape their confinement and blow the whole mess through the surface.

“High heat content at lower pressure creates an environment prone to melting these rising mantle rocks, which provides magma to the volcanic systems,” says Arizona geoscientist Richard Bennett, another co-author.

Perhaps anticipating the climate change deniers’ uncanny ability to put two and two together and come up with five, the researchers took pains to point out that no, it’s not the very fact that Icelandic ice sits above hot magma deposits that’s causing the glacial melting. The magma’s always been there; it’s the rising global temperature that’s new. At best, only 5% of the accelerated melting is geological in origin.

Anthony Watts, who runs the Watts Up With That blog, retorted, in part:

So, Iceland has had melting glaciers, OK we’ll accept that, but Iceland is not the world, and a good number of volcanoes that have erupted in the last century are in the tropical parts of the world where there are no glaciers on the volcanoes or magma fields, yet somehow, this writer, Jeffrey Kluger, extrapolates Iceland’s glacier melt to volcano link up to the entire world.

It’s definitely worth is to read his whole rebuttal, complete with charts and graphs showing that despite an increase in atmospheric CO2, volcanic activity actually went down in the 2000’s.

If global warming is caused by atmospheric CO2, and global warming is what is driving volcanic activity, then there should be an increase in volcanic activity, not a decrease. (And there should also be actual global warming.)

Of course, it could be that there is no causal relationship here between “global warming” and volcanoes. But that’s not an option that they’ll entertain, even the least bit.