Darwin Teague asked:
How much pollution does a volcano produce? I’ve heard that a volcanoes spew out as much pollution as all the cars that have ever been put on Earth combined but how much pollution does a volcano produce when it erupts?
We asked our guest Marie Edmonds:
Marie- This is a very good question and it gives me an opportunity to dispel some of the myths about volcanoes and global warming and pollution. Volcanoes emit CO2 and SO2: carbon dioxide and sulphur dioxide are the main gases that might be construed to cause global warming or pollution. Volcanoes emit around 100,000,000 tonnes of CO2 a year. Compare that to man-made emissions of CO2 which comes to about 30,000,000,000 tonnes of CO2 per year*. So volcanoes emit around 1/300th of CO2 that we do and are therefore insignificant in terms of global warming. Sulphur dioxide on the other hand, volcanoes emit around a tenth of the anthropogenic emissions of SO2. That forms regional smog.
Chris- Isn’t there a benefit of sulphur dioxide in that it reflects heat back in to space? In fact it cools down the Earth so volcanoes are quite good in that respect because they keep us cooler than we otherwise would be.
Marie- Yes. There has been some research in the last few years that suggests very large eruptions such as Pinatubo in 1991. That eruption emitted about 20 megatonnes of SO2 into the stratosphere. Eruptions such as those which happen once every decade in fact have slowed down global warming a little bit. Without those eruptions we’d actually see the effects of global warming much more now than we do.
[*Value correct for 2008-10]
What you've heard is true.
I think the biggest source of water pollution is Industries. Who are releasing large amount of hazardous waste into our water resources. In order to do proper treatment of this waste water consultant like http://www.jnblabs.com/ must be contacted harmonsmith, Thu, 4th Jun 2009
The largest volcanic eruption since the rise of modern humans, Homo sapiens, is the great eruption of Toba, in Sumatra, about 71,000 years ago. It produced some 2800 cubic kilometers of ash and may have reduced the world's human population to only 10,000. The eruption of Toba is hypothesized by some scientists to have decimated the early human inhabitants of S Asia. The eruption lasted perhaps two weeks, but the ensuing "volcanic winter" resulted in a decrease in average global temperatures by 3 to 3.5 degrees Celsius for several years.
i love this it has helped me soo much :) thanks p.s. i love josh s carl lane, Mon, 1st Mar 2010
Who is Marie Edmonds and what are her qualifications? Her reply sounds just as generalized and unsubstantiated as the origonal "myth". Zim, Sat, 17th Apr 2010
How much pollution does a volcano produce?
I thought this put things into context quite nicely...
For Zim, this would be her, then:
Here is an interesting
Zim, I'm astonished that you have the audactiy to question anyone's qualifications when you can't even spell original correctly! Martin, Sun, 12th Dec 2010
Martin, it's funny that you pointed out somebody's mistake when you also made one when you spelled audacity. It's a typo, get over it. I'm also curious who this Marie is. jm, Tue, 8th Feb 2011
Why-oh-why is it so hard to decide? Dr Edmonds says volcanoe emit around 100,000,000 tonnes of CO2 a year. The US Geological Society says Volcanoes release more than 130 million tonnes of CO2 into the atmosphere every year. Guardian.co.uk says that the British Geological Survey (the Grauniad's link doesn't work) says it has been estimated that subaerial volcanism releases around 300 Mt/yr CO2. Who do we believe? ..maybe even the nutters who are in denial! Mike. Mike, Fri, 4th Nov 2011
How many BTUs of heat does the erupting volcano emit per day? Everything I have read only talks about gases and not at all about temperature that is being released how many BTUs does matter also. Dennis Malkin, Tue, 11th Oct 2016