The team detected CO2 emitted by Katla by analyzing airborne gas emission measurements made in October 2016 and October 2017. These observations were combined with gas dispersion modeling to calculate the volcano’s total emissions. The results indicate that Katla emits 12–24 kilotons of CO2 per day, which is more than double previous estimates of the emission rate of CO2 from all volcanic and geothermal sources in Iceland combined (2.7–5.8 kilotons per day). Although the large CO2 emission rate may suggest the presence of magma in the roots of Katla volcano, regular monitoring is needed to establish whether there is a link between the CO2 emission and any future eruptions.
These findings suggest that subglacial volcanoes—the emissions of which have not been considered in much detail, historically—may be major emitters of carbon dioxide. Because of this, their contributions to the global volcanic CO2 budget may have been underestimated. Future work will determine whether Katla is representative of other ice-covered volcanoes. (Geophysical Research Letters, https://doi.org/10.1029/2018GL079096, 2018)
—Terri Cook, Freelance Writer
Flashback 2008: The lack of atmospheric dust ‘could be responsible for as much as a .1 to .2 degree Celsius rise (about .18 to .36 degrees Fahrenheit) in the average temperature on Earth since the 1960s’ – Excerpt: A relatively bright eclipse means that the Earth’s atmosphere is comparatively free of volcanic dust, and that relatively large amounts of sunlight are being refracted through the Earth’s atmosphere…Scientists at the University of Colorado, Boulder are drawing some controversial conclusions from those bright lunar surfaces, however. They say that the lack of observed dust in the atmosphere over the past 12 years could be responsible for as much as a .1 to .2 degree Celsius rise (about .18 to .36 degrees Fahrenheit) in the average temperature on Earth since the 1960s. That certainly wouldn’t account for the entire range of observed temperature shifts (the average temperature in that time has risen by about .6 Celsius, or 1.08 Fahrenheit degrees) – but if true, it could complicate global climate change analyses.
When will Iceland pay their climate debt? Iceland volcano ‘set to erupt’ – Releasing ‘staggering amounts of CO2 is being emitted’ – In the journal, the team wrote: “Through high-precision airborne measurements and atmospheric dispersion modelling, we show that Katla, a highly hazardous subglacial volcano which last erupted 100 years ago, is one of the largest volcanic sources of CO2 on Earth, releasing up to five percent of total global volcanic emissions.”
Wacky Media: NPR and CNN worry that Global Warming may have caused Iceland’s Volcano! – NPR: ‘We do wonder whether there’s human involvement in all of these eruptions, earthquakes, storms’