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A science presenter, writer, speaker & former TV host; author of The Skeptic's Handbook (over 200,000 copies distributed & available in 15 languages).


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Did volcanic dust from Hunga Tonga cause flooding in Australia?

Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha’apai

Unusual rain in Australia started within days of the Hunga Tonga dust cloud travelling across the continent

On January 15th, Hunga Tonga launched a magma-powered thunderstorm that sent atmospheric shockwaves around the world. Ash, salt and particulates were carried through rising columns, right through the stratosphere, into the mesosphere and all the way up to 58 kilometers above Earth. For hours 400,000-odd lighting bolts zapped the airborne chemical soup.

The dust from Hunga-Tonga travelled West and reached Australia on Jan 18 – 20th. On Jan 21-22 flooding rain washed out the main railway line and roads in central Australia. Over the next few weeks, rains soaked the ground across parts of Queensland and New South Wales. By February 15th, the remnant volcanic dust that had circled the Earth and was back again creating rich red sunsets over Australia. A week or so after that, the rain bombs fell on South East Queensland, and travelled south through New South Wales to Sydney.

The big unknown is that the Hunga-Tonga volcano launched water vapor, salt and dust incredibly high — almost too high. The aerosols are far above the troposphere where rainfall originates and some of that […]

The Tongan eruption sent shockwaves around the world

Scott Manley has done an excellent summary video of the Tongan volcano, much of the science and history of it as well as the effects thousands of miles away. The area around the volcano had completely reformed in the last ten years. He has collected some great footage together.

It’s interesting watching air pressure waves travel across Japan and the USA. Ken Stewart found the compression- decompression wave hit the east coast of Australia at about 5:16 Qld time and took 3 hours and 24 minutes roughly to get to Shark Bay, an average speed of about 1,160 kph. The decompression was about half an hour after the first peak and can be seen (still) in weather station pressure data.

Eruptions of Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha’apai are roughly 900 years apart and this one was on schedule.

Thanks to Greg …

A

The CliffMass weather blog noted that the pressure wave hit Seattle at 4:30AM local time, so the air pressure spike took 8.5 hours to cross the Pacific at about 664miles per hour. h/t WattsUp

Sending best wishes for the poor people of Tonga. Planes are on the way to help, slightly complicated because Tonga is still Covid free, and […]

Just another bunch of old volcanoes we didn’t know about, found off Tasmania

A few weeks ago a CSIRO boat mapped out a string of 3 kilometer high seamounts that no one knew about. They are 400km east of Tasmania and sit in water 5 km deep (so no one is going to run into them, even in a military sub.)

But remember, even though 80% of the ocean floor is unmapped, and we haven’t even logged, named or noticed thousands of volcanoes, we *know* that they are not heating the ocean, changing ocean currents, or affecting our climate. Skillless models tell us so. (Pay us your money).

h/t Thanks to Tallbloke

Huge underwater volcano chain discovered off Tasmania

Denise Chow, Euronews

“We’ve only mapped a tiny fraction of the ocean floor,” said Andrew Fisher, a marine geologist at the University of California, Santa Cruz, who was not involved in the new discovery. “We have more detailed maps of Mars, Venus and the moon than we do of the seafloor. Other planetary bodies can be mapped in high resolution with satellites, but on Earth, the water layer gets in the way. The only way is to go out with ships.”

More than 80 percent of the ocean […]

Iceland Katla volcano emits up to 24,000 tons of CO2 per day, may be about to blow (Or Not)

Either Katla in Iceland is about to blow or it isn’t. It is a subglacial volcano giving off five to ten times more CO2 than vulcanologists expected. This has some experts spooked, though others are saying it’s not that unusual.

UPDATE: The lead researcher herself adds that her work does not suggest an eruption is imminent, nor that it would be like the theEyjafjallajokull eruption in any case. h/t Pat for the new take. Apparently The Sunday Times has been exaggerating… “Ilyinskaya tweeted that she has previously told the Sunday Times that “the severity of Eyjafjallajökull air traffic disruption was very unusual and unlikely to happen if Katla erupts, and still, they quote me as saying exactly the opposite!”

Katla volcano set to erupt, Patrick Knox, The Sun

Katla Volcano, Iceland, 1918

Icelandic and British volcanologists have detected Katla— Icelandic for “kettle” or “boiler” — is emitting carbon dioxide on a huge scale which suggests magma chambers are filling up fast.

According to the Sunday Times, the scientists believe it could be an indicator that an eruption could be brewing which would overshadow the eruption of the Eyjafjallajokull volcano in 2010.

The emissions are in […]

Lava – not your usual road hazard: evacuations underway today in Hawaii

A reminder of what most of our planet is made of.

Volcano, lava spreads across road, Hawaii, May 2018.

The lava has reached Leilani estates. Rock and ash are being thrown into the air. Evacuations are underway. There has been some warning. Small earthquakes have been occurring. Cracks appearing in roads.

See the drone footage of the eruption in Hawaii:

RT news story on this:

9 out of 10 based on 40 ratings

Panic time: a tiny 0.01% of Antarctica, resting on volcanoes, melts five times faster than nothing

Let this go down as a prime example of Big Meaningless Numbers used to scare you:

Antarctica’s ice melts five times faster than usual Ben Webster — The Times (copied at The Australian)

Antarctica has lost an area of ice the size of Greater London since 2010 as warmer ocean water erodes its floating edge, a study has found. Overall about 1,463 sq km of Antarctica’s underwater ice melted between 2010 and 2016.

What does 1,463 fewer square kilometers of ice mean?

The findings suggest that melting glaciers on the continent could add significantly to long-term sea level rises, with severe implications for thousands of coastal towns and cities.

Your house might wash away. Or not. How close to zero can a number be and still be “a number”?

The total area of Antarctic sea ice averages about 11 million square kilometers. So that’s one part in 7,500 that melted or 0.013%. But volume is what matters and the percentage of volume that melted is even smaller. Let’s assume ice volume was lost to a depth of one kilometer (the depth of the “grounding line” where the ice-sheet meets the earth). The giant Antarctic Ice Sheet […]

Do 40,000 volcanoes matter?

The world is watching one volcano in Bali, but it’s sobering to think there may be hundreds of others going off, and almost certainly ones we don’t even know about. The article Is the Bali volcano making us warmer or cooler? by William F Jasper, reminded me of Ian Plimers words about there being squillions of undersea volcanoes so I found the 2007 paper, by Hillier, that tried to count them. Trying being the appropriate word. Volcanoes are biggish things, but when they are under one or two kilometers of water they are hard to hear, hard to see, and, by crikey, we know more about the moon than the bottom of the Marinara, and it’s only 11km “away”.

People are constantly discovering new volcanoes, like a 3,000m one off Indonesia that no one realized was there til 2010. It turns out the second largest volcano in the solar system is apparently not on Io, but 1,000 miles east of Japan. It’s the size of the British Isles, but who knew? A few months ago a team found 91 new volcanoes under Antarctica. (This is getting serious, someone should talk to the Minister for Lava!)

Not only can […]

Your car causes volcanoes (and volcanoes release CO2)

Oh. My. Lord. Keep the car in the garage.

Climate Change Could Increase Volcano Eruptions

Dr Graeme Swindles, from the School of Geography at Leeds, said: “Climate change caused by humans is creating rapid ice melt in volcanically active regions. In Iceland, this has put us on a path to more frequent volcanic eruptions.”

The study examined Icelandic volcanic ash preserved in peat deposits and lake sediments and identified a period of significantly reduced volcanic activity between 5,500 and 4,500 years ago. This period came after a major decrease in global temperature, which caused glacier growth in Iceland.

The findings, published today in the journal Geology, found there was a time lag of roughly 600 years between the climate event and a noticeable decrease in the number of volcanic eruptions. The study suggests that perhaps a similar time lag can be expected following the more recent shift to warmer temperatures.

Read more at University of Leeds

It’s amazing what you can achieve when you take a simple correlation and run with it.

Meanwhile in New Zealand, Mt Ruapehu is emitting high levels of CO2

Look out, we may set off […]

Antarctica – 91 volcanoes coincidentally found under glaciers warming “due to climate change”

It’s possibly the densest concentration of volcanoes in the world, some as high as 4km and we didn’t even know these existed til recently. Despite that overwhelming ignorance, we’re 97.00% certain that all the warming in Antarctica is due to your car and airconditioner. Robin McKie, The Guardian writer, talks about the recent discovery of so many volcanoes under the ice. Not surprisingly, we have no data on how active these volcanoes are. However because we *know* climate change is definitely wrecking Antarctica, it follows that your car, air conditioner and pet dog could melt more ice, take the pressure off the tectonic plate and set one off. Then things will really get out of hand.

Anyhow, it’s just a coincidence that all the warming in Antarctica is where the volcanoes are.

Warming in Antarctica | New volcano discoveries

Spread the hagtag #allvolcanosmatter.

From The Guardian: Scientists discover 91 volcanoes below Antarctic ice sheet

Scientists have uncovered the largest volcanic region on Earth – two kilometres below the surface of the vast ice sheet that covers west Antarctica.

The project, by Edinburgh University researchers, has revealed almost 100 volcanoes – with the highest as tall […]

Molten lava ball called Earth springs leak — incandescent rock “waterfall” on Hawaii

It is easy to forget we stand on a molten lava ball. Worth a minute of your time. Wow.

It’s being called the Lava fire hose — 70 feet of flowing liquid rock. Pure Geo-voyerism. How close is that boat… camera trick?

I gather Hawaii’s Kilauea Volcano has been erupting pretty much all the time since 1983 so this is not “evacuation time”. But I’m guessing this waterfall variety is pretty unusual. If it keeps up, it’s one helluva tourist attraction.

All the forces of nature are pretty much just showing off here — wrap your mind around this steam:

“The steam plume created by the lava reaching the water is also a concern.

“It’s super-heated steam laced with hydrochloric acid from the interaction with the seawater and has shards of volcanic glass,” Ms Babb said.

“It’s something to be avoided.”

The story: Massive lava stream exploding into ocean in Hawaii (ABC)

 

9.7 out of 10 based on 63 ratings