Almost all of the climate-cooling volcanic eruptions of the past correlate with low solar activity. Worryingly, the Sun is currently going through its deepest solar minimum of the past 100+ years and, looking forward, NASA has revealed the next cycle (25) could be “the weakest of the past 200 years” — a return to Dalton Minimum conditions.
The Dalton Minimum (1790-1830) was a period of historically low solar activity that also included the famine-inducing eruption of Mt. Tambora, in 1815.
Tambora’s eruption was one of Earth’s most powerful of the past 2,000 years, and it compounded the terrestrial cooling already occurring due to low solar activity. This unfortunate combination resulted in some of the harshest climatic conditions of the modern era — 1816 is also known as “the year without a summer”.
Of today’s reawakening volcanoes those located in Iceland are perhaps the most concerning. It is this highly-volcanic region that will likely be home to the next “big one” (a repeat of the 536 AD eruption that took out the Roman Republic…?), the one that will return Earth to another volcanic winter.
A high frequency of eruptions at a volcano allows scientists to detect patterns (precursors). And if these patterns are repeated each time a volcano erupts then it becomes possible for scientists to be more confident with regards to forecasting.
Grímsvötn is Iceland’s most frequently erupting volcano, and over the past 800 years some 65 eruptions are known with some certainty. Icelandic scientists have been carefully monitoring Grímsvötn since its 20km (66,000 ft) Plinian eruption in 2011. Recently, researchers have seen various signals that suggest the volcano is getting ready to erupt again, and have raised the threat level as a result.
The volcano has been inflating as new magma moves into the plumbing system beneath it (think of burying a balloon in the sand and then inflating it). Increasing thermal activity has been melting more ice and there has also been a recent increase in earthquake activity.
The time gaps between Grímsvötn’s eruptions are variable, writes Dave McGarvie, a volcanologist at Lancaster University. For example, prior to the larger 2011 eruption there were smaller eruptions in 2004, 1998 and 1983 with gaps of between four and 15 years. Crucially, and with the next eruption in mind, Grímsvötn appears to have a pattern of infrequent larger eruptions that occur every 150-200 years (for example 2011, 1873, 1619), with smaller and more frequent eruptions occurring roughly once a decade in between.
If Grímsvötn’s past pattern of occasional large eruptions with more numerous smaller eruptions occurring in between continues into the future, then the next eruption should be a small one (given there was a large one in 2011). However, the word “should” is important here, stresses McGarvie — Iceland’s volcanoes are complex natural systems and patterns are not always followed faithfully.
Katla is another Icelandic volcano on the brink of an eruption, according to the Icelandic Meteorological Office (IMO). Since January this year, researchers have recorded an uplift in and around Katla, and in recent months have recorded an increase in sulfur dioxide close to where two previous eruptions have taken place.
Katla’s previous sizable eruption was the VEI 4 back in 1918 (volcano.si.edu). That year falls within the Centennial Minimum, the previous multidecadal spell of low solar activity.
Icelandic authorities are well-aware of the dangers the next eruption of Katla represents, and a delegation of the volcanologists routinely meet with the Icelandic Parliament to discuss how to respond in the case of an eruption.
Scientists are also concerned about the unusual behavior of Klyuchevskaya volcano (also written a “Klyuchevskoy” volcano) located in the Kamchatka Peninsula of Russia.
As a standard rule, usually a year passes between Klyuchevskaya eruptions, but recently that period of quiescence has been slashed to just two months — on October 5, 2020 night surveillance cameras recorded the outpouring of lava from the volcano’s summit crater:
According to Yuri Demyanchuk, head of the Klyuchevskoy volcanic station IViS, all this testifies a new impending larger eruption.
The uncharacteristic behavior of Klyuchevskoy can lead to paroxysmal explosions (unpredictable, hazardous explosions): “These are very strong eruptions when the Klyuchevskoy crater is emptying” clarifies Demyanchuk.
“The last paroxysmal eruption was in 2013, before that — in 1994. But until now we have not seen such an intensity of tremors to speak of an approaching paroxysmal eruption,” explains the expert. “This is an anomaly.”
Seismic and Volcanic activity has been correlated to changes in the Sun.
Volcanic eruptions are one of the key forcings driving Earth into its next bout of global cooling. Volcanic ash (particulates) fired above 10km –and so into the stratosphere– shade sunlight and reduce terrestrial temperatures. The smaller particulates from an eruption can linger in the upper atmosphere for years, or even decades+ at a time.
The recent worldwide volcanic uptick is thought to be tied to low solar activity, coronal holes, a waning magnetosphere, and the influx of Cosmic Rays penetrating silica-rich magma.
Check out these link for more info:
Both NOAA and NASA appear to agree, if you read between the lines, with NOAA saying we’re entering a ‘full-blown’ Grand Solar Minimum in the late-2020s, and NASA seeing this upcoming solar cycle (25) as “the weakest of the past 200 years”, with the agency correlating previous solar shutdowns to prolonged periods of global cooling here.
Furthermore, we can’t ignore the slew of new scientific papers stating the immense impact The Beaufort Gyre could have on the Gulf Stream, and therefore the climate overall.
Prepare accordingly— learn the facts, relocate if need be, and grow your own.
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Grand Solar Minimum + Pole Shift