Words on Weather & Climate — April 29, 2010

April 29, 2010 // 0 Comments

What’s the name of that volcano? by CRAIG JAMES I imagine the people from Iceland have been driven to fits of hysterical laughter when they hear broadcasters trying to pronounce the name the volcano that has been erupting in their country. It is spelled “Eyjafjallajoekull.” You can hear someone from Iceland pronounce it on a video from YouTube at www.youtube.com/watch?v=9jq-sMZtSww. It certainly made me laugh. The English pronunciation is “Aye-ya fyah-dla jow-kudl.” Let’s just call it “that Icelandic volcano.” You can see absolutely stunning photos online at www.boston.com/bigpicture/2010/04/more_from_eyjafjallajokull.html. If you don’t own a computer, go to the library or visit a friend who has one and look at the pictures. It is worth your while. I’m sure all of the stranded passengers and the airline companies didn’t find the volcano a laughing matter, but it came as no surprise to me to find out there are people blaming the volcano on global warming. Scientific American recently ran an article claiming that climate change caused the volcano to erupt. (Can you hear me laughing hysterically in the background?) I am certainly not a geologist or volcanologist, but there is enough evidence to show that volcanoes don’t erupt due to climate change, but they can change the climate. The eruption of Mt. Tambora in 1815 caused the year without a summer in 1816. It has been hypothesized by a volcanologist at Los Alamos that the Dark Ages were triggered by agricultural collapse following the 535AD eruption of Krakatoa. The 1883 eruption of Krakatoa lowered global temperatures about two degrees. The eruptions of El Chicon in 1983 and Mt. Pinotubo in 1991 also lowered global temperatures. I could go on and on. A geologist writing in a blog called WattsUpWithThat, explained why melting ice had no effect on the Icelandic volcano: “Iceland is an above sea level manifestation of the Mid Atlantic Ridge. The ridge is of course an active constructive margin (It is actually the principle prime-mover of continental drift at this point in time). Upwelling of hotter (i.e. less dense) magma along the ridge is pushing the Eurasian plate and North American plate in opposite directions at about the speed that human nails grow. The Eurasian plate heads east, the North American plate heads west. “So […]