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Thread: minima, volcanoes, famine and death

  1. #1 minima, volcanoes, famine and death 
    Forum Radioactive Isotope sculptor's Avatar
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    Apr 2012
    It seems that we may be in a solar minimum add in a tambora, and does agw balance the scales?
    The ort, the wolf, the sporer, the maunder and the dalton minima, didn't seem all that different, but, add in a tambora, and we have had famine, death, disease, and social disruption...........
    Have we the knowledge to predict another tambora?

    assume the worst that nature can fling at us
    will the worlds political systems be able to survive ?

    There seem few places left for migration during a "year without a summer"
    if not where, then what?

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  3. #2  
    Forum Radioactive Isotope skeptic's Avatar
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    Nov 2008
    New Zealand
    We cannot predict volcanic eruptions, except to know that there always will be another. The odds are low that any will be disastrous enough in our lifetimes to significantly affect the climate, or food production. I have more potent worries.

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  4. #3  
    Moderator Moderator
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    Nov 2011
    city of wine and roses
    The temperature effects of volcanic eruptions like Pinatubo and Tambora tend to last about 2 years.

    Volcanic eruptions can alter the climate of the earth for both short and longer periods of time. For example, average global temperatures dropped about 0.5
    oC for about two years after the eruption of Mount Pinatubo in 1991, and low air temperatures caused crop failures and famine in North America and Europe for two years following the eruption of Tambora in 1815. Click here to see a list of volcanic eruptions. climate4you ClimateAndVolcanoes

    You can see Pinatubo's effect quite clearly on this graph. And you can also see that the warming trend continued without a hiccup after those 2 years.

    The Tambora eruption was about 10 times the size of the Pinatubo eruption. I haven't been able to find a neat, equivalent graph of global temperature for the early 19th century. There is this CET graph which shows local effects quite clearly though.

    Central England temperature series 1770-1840.

    Tambora occurred during the Dalton Minimum when insolation was declining so the effects were quite a bit worse than they would have been in the 1990s even if Pinatubo had been the same size.

    A fair bit of work on a projected solar minimum has already been done. Usually based on the more severe Maunder Minimum than the milder Dalton Minimum prevailing at the time of the Tambora eruption. Apparently it would make very little difference to the current trend.

    The global mean temperature difference is shown for the time period 1900 to 2100 for the IPCC A2 emissions scenario (relative to zero for the average temperature during the years 1961 to 1990). The red line shows predicted temperature change for the current level of solar activity, the blue line shows predicted temperature change for solar activity at the much lower level of the Maunder Minimum, and the black line shows observed temperatures from the NASA GISS dataset through 2010. Adapted from Feulner & Rahmstorf (2010).

    A grand solar minimum would barely make a dent in human-caused global warming

    A Tambora sized eruption would cause widespread crop failures regardless of the prevailing temperature or insolation trend. But we're already walking a very frayed tightrope in terms of food. We have less than 3 months grain supplies in reserve, so we're entirely dependent on each year's crops succeeding, even each month's, regardless of any general climate issues.

    With food consumption exceeding the amount grown for six of the past 11 years, countries have run down reserves from an average of 107 days of consumption 10 years ago to under 74 days recently.
    UN warns of looming worldwide food crisis in 2013 | Global development | The Observer
    "Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen." Winston Churchill
    "nature is like a game of Jenga; you never know which brick you pull out will cause the whole stack to collapse" Lucy Cooke
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