Volcanoes, CO2, and climate change
In a study recently published in Earth and Planetary Science Letters, geologists at the Royal Holloway University report finding a massive lake of molten carbon the size of Mexico located some 217 miles below the Earth's surface across the western United States. The volume of the Earth's upper mantle carbon reservoir is now estimated to be 100 trillion metric tons, which will gradually make its way to the Earth's surface through volcanic eruptions and slowly contribute to global warming, we are told, unless there should be a sudden release that could have "dire consequences."
Have you ever noticed that any discovery relating to the carbon cycle always seems in one way or another to include the potential for dire consequences? If 100 trillion metric tons of molten carbon will be released into our atmosphere over time through the natural process of volcanism, does that not dwarf the 10 billion metric tons that, according to EPA estimates, was released into the atmosphere in 2011? I would suggest that this study may provide legitimate questions in regard to the usefulness of draconian government regulation in regard to carbon emissions (see California law regulating cow flatulence).
With 80% of the Earth's land mass said to be volcanic in origin, volcanism at some past time obviously occurred in much greater volume than at present. At such time atmospheric CO2 would of necessity have been at much higher levels than today. Remarkably, the world seems to have survived these high CO2 levels. How many volcanoes today are erupting on ocean floors of which we are unaware? How many fissures in the ocean floor are releasing CO2? How many known volcanoes are currently erupting? How many dormant volcanoes presently serve as conduits allowing the escape of CO2 trapped in the upper mantle of the Earth? While estimates are attempted, the fact of the matter is we simply do not know how many metric tons of CO2 are emitted into the atmosphere by these natural means during the course of a year.
In addition, it could be argued that our knowledge of the effects of higher levels of CO2 is not exhaustive. With elaborate computer modeling, it was theorized that increases in atmospheric CO2 would result in significant global warming (even if falsified data were necessary to achieve the predicted result). A troublingly inexplicable 20-year hiatus in warming resulted in substitution of the term "climate change," in place of global warming, the obvious advantage being that whether temperatures rise or fall, one can still claim success in one's predictions.
In determining risk assessment, global warming zealots seem oblivious to possible positive effects of higher levels of CO2. What of the greening effect on plant life caused by a greater abundance of CO2? How would a slight increase in world temperatures impact the length of growing seasons or increase land available for agricultural use in more northern latitudes? What potential does increased CO2 have for increasing food production, etc.?
And while Greenies treat anthropomorphic increases in CO2 as determinative in rising CO2 levels, their understanding remains severely limited in regard to the volume of CO2 produced by natural mechanisms beyond our control. By the same token, how much CO2 will be absorbed by the expanded plant life thereby caused and how much additional oxygen will be released through photosynthesis?
And then there are the predictions. Hurricane Katrina was caused by global warming, and the United States was going to see more and more devastation from hurricanes. What happened? It was a full decade before another hurricane hit the U.S. mainland.
The drought in California was the result of global warming. Drought was the new reality that would be expanding throughout the West. But, all of a sudden, the drought is over. In fact, they don't know what to do with all the water. It was just a normal cycle that has likely repeated itself hundreds of times.
And of course, dire predictions of starving populations by 1990 or 2000 failed to materialize. Indeed, catastrophe after catastrophe seems to have somehow been avoided, so the question arises: why do we bother to listen? Actually, except for the college-age generation who have been so indoctrinated by their progressive professors, we don't listen, as is obvious by how few Americans see global warming or climate change as a crisis.
I am sure that Bill Nye the science guy would collapse at the thought that the gospel of global warming theory is being questioned, and we have any number of green enthusiasts who will call me a climate change denier or an ignoramus, but isn't time to stop calling each other names and recognize anthropomorphic global warming as a theory rather than an absolute truth? This may also be the time to stop referring to climate change with the politically correct but very unscientific term the left uses when it can't substantiate a claim: "settled science."