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How volcanoes can cause both global cooling and global warming?

Talks About Climate

Talk to the Arizona Geological Society January 2. 2018 – Bringing Peace to the Climate Wars (51 minutes): Volcanoes rule climate change. Sequences of large explosive volcanoes are observed to cool Earth over millennia, while extrusion of basaltic lavas over areas of tens to millions of square miles are observed to cause rapid global warming. Greenhouse gases are well-known to absorb some frequencies of infrared radiation, but they do not absorb enough heat to explain observed global warming. Heat is a very broad continuum of frequencies of oscillation of all the bonds that hold matter together. The amplitude of oscillation at each frequency of oscillation “flows” from a hotter body to a cooler body by radiation or conduction via resonance.

GSA Talk October 25, 2017 – How volcanoes rule climate change (14 minutes): Major explosive volcanic eruptions deplete the ozone layer causing 2°C warming in industrial areas during the first winter, but forming sulfuric acid aerosols in the lower stratosphere that grow large enough over months to reflect and scatter sunlight, causing global cooling of ~0.5°C for 2 to 4 years. Major effusive basaltic lava flows, covering up to 11 million square kilometers of continental rift zones and subaerial oceanic rift zones, do not form significant cooling aerosols but do deplete the ozone layer causing rapid net warming. They also cause ocean acidification and mass extinctions. The extrusion of 84 km2 of basaltic lava from Bárðarbunga in Iceland in 2014 appears to have made 2015-2016 the hottest years in the instrumental record. The footprints of climate change in ice cores, sediments, and rocks show, when adequate resolution is available, rapid warming within years to decades followed by slow cooling over centuries to millennia in sequences averaging as little as 4000 years but are very erratic in timing. The largest basaltic flows are contemporaneous with the largest warmings and occur at the end of most geologic eons, eras, periods, epochs, and even ages. A talk presented by Dr. Peter L. Ward at the national meeting of the Geological Society of America, Seattle, Washington. Read the abstract here.

GSA Talk , September 26, 2016 – Rapid global warming and slow global cooling in erratic sequences (13 minutes): The footprints of climate change recorded throughout Earth history show sudden global warming within years, followed by much slower cooling over centuries to millennia in erratic sequences that are clearly not cyclic. Warming appears caused by large flows of basaltic lava covering areas of hundreds to millions of square miles, depleting ozone worldwide, allowing more of the most energetic ultraviolet sunlight to reach Earth. Cooling results from long sequences of major explosive volcanic eruptions that each form globe-encircling aerosols in the lower stratosphere reflecting and scattering sunlight for several years. Changes in greenhouse-gas concentrations would result from these warmings and coolings, but changes in greenhouse-gas concentrations are highly unlikely to cause such erratic climate change. Rapid global warming since 2014 appears caused by the eruption of Bárðarbunga volcano in central Iceland, which extruded basaltic lava from August 2014 to February 2015 covering an area of 33 square miles, the highest rate of basalt extrusion since 1783. This appears to be why 2016 is the hottest year on record. A talk given at the annual meeting of the Geological Society of America in Denver. Read the abstract here.

GSL Talk – September 6, 2016 – Geologic evidence for how volcanoes have driven climate change throughout Earth history (40 minutes): A balance driven by plate tectonics between frequent explosive volcanic eruptions and persistent effusive, basaltic eruptions provides a very clear and detailed explanation for climate change throughout Earth history and for why 2016 is the hottest year on record. Volcanoes rule climate. Major effusive, basaltic eruptions punctuate the geologic time scale. A talk given at the Geological Society of London.

GSL Talk September 6, 2016 – Additional details on the physics of radiation that go with the talk “Geologic evidence for how volcanoes have driven climate change throughout Earth history” (20 minutes): Parts of the talk given on September 6, 2016, at the Geological Society of London that provide more detail about the physics of global warming. The problem with greenhouse warming theory traces back to an assumption made in the 1850s by James Clerk Maxwell that radiation travels through air and space as waves. Waves deform a medium and there is no medium in space. Radiation, thermal energy, transmits the frequencies of oscillation of all the bonds that hold the surface of matter together. In this case, energy at each frequency equals the Planck constant times the frequency. Read the abstract here.

Earth warms suddenly and cools slowly in erratic sequences. A talk at the New Dawn of Truth Climate Conference on September 8, 2016. (15 minutes): The geologic footprints of climate change throughout Earth history show sudden warming followed by much slower cooling in erratic sequences averaging 5000 years that are not cyclic.

AMS Talk –January 12, 2016 – Ozone Depletion Explains Global Warming Better Than Greenhouse Gases  (15 minutes): Ozone depletion caused by effusive volcanism or CFCs provides a clear, direct, and sufficient explanation for each of the major changes in global warming over the past 100 years and throughout the history of planet Earth. A talk given at the annual meeting of the American Meteorological Society in honor of Mario Molina, who shared the 1995 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for deciphering the effects of CFCs on ozone. Read the abstract here.

Questions following AMS talk on ozone depletion (4 minutes): Two questions asked and answered following my talk “Ozone depletion explains global warming better than greenhouse gases” on January 12, 2016, at the annual meeting of the American Meteorological Society in New Orleans.

TEDx Talk – Volcanoes: A Forge For Climate Change (18 minutes): Explosive volcanoes cause global cooling while effusive, basaltic volcanoes, typical of Iceland or Hawaii, cause global warming. Climate change throughout geologic time has primarily been a balance between the frequency of explosive eruptions and the duration of effusive eruptions, which is controlled by the motion of large tectonic plates. A talk given on October 28, 2015, at TEDx Wilmington.

GSA Rocky Mountain, May 2015: Effusive volcanoes cause warming, explosive volcanoes cause cooling  (16 minutes) Active volcanoes of all sizes and eruptive styles emit chlorine and bromine gases. Effusive, basaltic volcanic eruptions, typical in Hawaii, Iceland, and Large Igneous Provinces, extrude lava for weeks to hundreds of thousands of years, depleting ozone and warming oceans. Major explosive volcanoes also deplete ozone, but in addition eject megatons of water and sulfur dioxide into the lower stratosphere forming sulfuric-acid aerosols whose particles grow large enough to scatter ultraviolet sunlight, causing net global cooling for a few years. Sequences of large explosive eruptions increment the world into ice ages. On 25 occasions between 120,000 and 10,000 years ago, basaltic eruptions in Iceland warmed the world out of the ice age within 1 to 3 decades but failed to warm the cold oceans enough to prevent a slow return to ice age conditions. Such rapid warmings and slower coolings are now being mapped throughout geologic history. The relative amounts of explosive and effusive volcanism change with changing configurations of tectonic plates. More detail at

Global warming is caused by ozone depletion not greenhouse gases (58 minutes): How and why ozone depletion explains global warming much more directly and much more clearly than greenhouse gases. Greenhouse-gas theory is based on some inaccurate assumptions.