Because most philosophies that frown on reproduction don't survive.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Iceland Does Its Bit Against Global Warming

It is notoriously claimed that every cloud has a silver lining, and those worried about climate change may be assured that this is true of ash clouds as well. It seems that although volcanos put out a great deal of CO2 themselves, it is estimated that the flight cancellations across Europe have resulted in a reduction in CO2 per day emmissions in excess of the (very roughly) estimated CO2 emmissions by day by the volcano itself.

Of course, this ignores the primary effect of ash-heavy volcanic erruptions, which is to reflect/block more sunlight in the atmosphere, thus producing a cooling trend which can last several years. When Krakatoa blew itself up in 1883, the following years was called "the year without a summer", with global average temperatures falling by 2.2 °F and the average temperatures not returning to trend until 1888. (In an interesting side note, the climate effects of Krakatoa also represented the last time that Western Europe suffered significant food shortages as a result of climate-induced crop failure. By the turn of the century, the global grain market was so well established that only war and economic disruption could cause food shortages in the developed world.)

So people stuck in airports across Europe can, at least, reflect that The Day After Tomorrow will now instead be The Day After the Day After Tomorrow (Or Perhaps The Next Day). And perhaps there's a way forward here in the contentious global warming debate. Surely we can all agree that volcanos are pretty cool. I think it's high time that we establish a UN panel to site new volcanos around the world. Each industrial nation will be required to host its fair share of volcano offsets. Sunsets will be more beautiful, the weather will be cooler, and life will generally be more exciting. I, for one, welcome our new volcanic overlords.


Dubitor said...

Are you counting extra trips by car and train by stranded passengers in your CO2 calculations?

If the companion volcano blows we will truly be in for global cooling & what will that do for resource use and environmental damage?

Rebekka said...

I'm just really really hoping that flights aren't affected ón 21 May. Come on Iceland, what did I ever do to you?

Also I really hope the summer isn't cold. When it only lasts three months you have to milk for all it's Got! said...

I'm cracking up at your Ken Brockman reference at the end! Enjoying your blog.

eulogos said...

In New York State there were frosts in July and August and serious crop failures that year, which really caused hunger. People were still living on what they and their neighbors grew, and selling what they grew for the few things they bought.

I wondered whether something like that would happen after the Icelandic Volcano. So far the second one hasn't blown yet, right?

Susan Peterson