Recently, scientists have discovered that frequent volcanic eruptions are a likely cause of long-term ocean cooling. Yikes!
If it seems like earthquakes and erupting volcanoes are happening more frequently, that’s because they are. And it isn’t just happening to small, new volcanoes. Unrest also seems to be growing among the world’s super-volcanoes. Almost all of the world’s active super-volcanic systems are now exhibiting some signs of inflation, an early indication that pressure is building in these volcanic systems.
An international team of researchers found that between 801 to 1800 AD, an 1800 year-long cooling trend in the surface layer of the Earth’s oceans appeared. Volcanic eruptions were the likely cause of this cooling. The coolest temperatures were during the Little Ice Age – that was before man-made global warming erased the cooling trend in the 1800s.
So what caused this massive cooling period? The research indicated that it was the increase in the number and size of these eruptions. “Volcanic eruptions have a short-term cooling effect on the atmosphere, but our results showed that when volcanic eruptions occurred more frequently, there was long-term ocean cooling,” said lead author from the University of Wollongong, Australia, Dr Helen McGregor. “No matter how we divided the dataset, the cooling trend stands out as a robust signal.”
If ocean cooling appears as a long-term response to large and frequent volcanic events…should we be worried? Brrrr. Irish seas are already too feckin cold!
All we can say here at Old Moore’s Almanac is… for those of you who plan a traditional Christmas Day swim in the ocean…it may be time to give in and don a wetsuit!