Tuesday 20 April 2010

Does global warming trigger volcanoes and earthquakes?

Melting glaciers and rising sea levels shift the distribution of huge amounts of water, which release and increase pressures through the ground. These pressure changes could make ruptures and seismic shifts more likely.

Bill McGuire, head of the Benfield Hazard Research Centre at University College London, says: "In relation to anthropogenic climate change, modelling studies and projection of current trends point towards increased risk in relation to a spectrum of geological and geomorphological hazards in a warmer world, while observations suggest that the ongoing rise in global average temperatures may already be eliciting a hazardous response from the geosphere."


"No increase in the global incidence of either volcanic activity or seismicity has been identified to date ... It may be the case that modulation of potentially hazardous geological processes due to anthropogenic climate change proves too small a signal to extract from the background noise of normal geophysical activity, at least in the short to medium term."