Fossil Fuel CO2 and Volcanic CO2

Posted by on giu 14, 2010 in Resources | 2 comments

Fossil Fuel CO2 and Volcanic CO2

We have all seen lots of pictures of the Eyjafjallajokull eruption now, with steam and ash billowing up in the air. The eruption started one month ago, and as the Guardian reports, The eruption of the Eyjafjallajokull volcano is unlikely to have any significant impact on climate but has caused a small fall in carbon emissions, experts say.

The Guardian editors seem to have forgotten that the volcano itself is spewing massive amounts of CO2 in the atmosphere.

Perhaps their kinship with Plane Stupid is having an impact?

Plane Stupid’s goal is to stop plane traffic in the UK, and they must be thrilled by the flight ban and the damage to the economy.

Natural CO2 Molecule CO2 From A Jet Engine

Volcano CO2 budget (CO2 is emitted independent of ash) ~200,000 tons per day X 30 days of eruption = 6,000,000 tons of CO2.

Plane CO2 Budget – assumes half of EU planes haven’t flown for the past six days 340,000 EU tons per day X 0.5 EU shutdown X 6 days = ~1,000,000 tons of savings.

People using alternative transportation (as Anthony and the BBC pointed out) as a replacement for aircraft – cars, trains, battleships , etc. ~1,000,000 tons of extra CO2 Is a battleship more “green” than a jumbo jet?

The total gain is 6,000,000 – 1,000,000 + 1,000,000 = 6,000,000 tons of excess CO2 from the volcano. The temporary aircraft shutdown has little or no net impact on CO2 emissions, but the volcano has a large impact.

Video and reader poll follow.

Below is a video chronology of the glacier and volcano, giving a feel of the events of the past month. First video shows what the glacier looked like prior to the eruption.

The next video shows the first night of the eruption – March 21. Note the similarity to Hawaiian volcanoes – lava fountains and little steam or ash.

By March 24, some steam and ash is starting to appear as glacial meltwater begins to mix with the magma.

By April 14, flash flooding from glacial melt began to pour down the side of the glacier.

The flooding was widespread and devastating downstream.

By April 17, the eruption was primarily steam, CO2 and ash.

Should climate modelers start differentiating between man made CO2 and “organic” natural CO2?

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2 Responses to “Fossil Fuel CO2 and Volcanic CO2”

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