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Eyjafjallajökull has awakened!


cfgauss
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Eyjafjallajökull has awakened from its nearly two centuries of slumber deep beneath the Earth's crust, under the Fimmvörðuháls mountain pass!

 

Thousands are stranded across all of Europe due to Her huge clouds of ash! Thousands of earthquakes have been detected! Eruptions of fire have been seen erupting from huge cracks in the very Earth itself!

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Is it actually Old Norse, or is it modern Icelandic? Actually, it could be both given how close the two languages are.

 

—Alorael, who had lunch with a man who just flew in from the Netherlands. The first question he got on arrival was whether the volcano had caused any disruptions in his travel. The look on his face was amusingly alarmed. He hadn't heard the news yet.

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All flights to and from the UK have been canceled, due to the Mighty Eyjafjallajökull's threat to devour any aircraft approaching it!

 

Many are warned to stay in the safety of the indoors!

 

Even the Great US Military's operations have been easily halted by the Mighty Eyjafjallajökull's Awakening!

 

Scholars warn that the effects of the Mighty Eyjafjallajökull may be felt for decades, and may even cool the Earth itself! If Its activities increase, the Earth may be plunged into Eternal Darkness and Winter!

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Originally Posted By: Master1
Ha, so much for global warming! Take that Al Gore!


DIE.

...seriously, I've been anticipating people saying this, because it's just what happens after a volcanic eruption. Ash in atmosphere -> blocks incoming radiation -> short-term cooling trend -> everyone becomes a climatologist -> I die a little inside.

GAH.
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Originally Posted By: Ephesos
Originally Posted By: Master1
Ha, so much for global warming! Take that Al Gore!


DIE.

...seriously, I've been anticipating people saying this, because it's just what happens after a volcanic eruption. Ash in atmosphere -> blocks incoming radiation -> short-term cooling trend -> everyone becomes a climatologist -> I die a little inside.

GAH.
I think he make joke.
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Originally Posted By: Master1
Yes. I was joking. I am aware of the atmospheric effects of volcanic eruptions.

EDIT: I now realize that the true solution to climate change is a gigantic umbrella to protect us from any extra sunlight!


It's been proposed, and it's actually not as crazy as it sounds. Basically you spew volcanic gases into the air and they block sunlight from entering, and if you calculate it correctly, then the blocking out of the sunlight should perfectly balance the greenhouse effect.

There's a section covering it in much deeper (and more accurate) detail in Superfreakonomics (Which I recommend everybody read, along with Freakonomics, too!)
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The better suggestion is to launch mirrors and/or lenses into space to redirect sunlight. Ideally, there would also be some solar panels or something on satellites so the redirected sunlight could do something useful?

 

Estimated cost and time to implement? Let's not let reality impinge on an excellent strategy!

 

—Alorael, who wonders whether all these earthquakes and eruptions mean that Gaia is angry at the humans. Maybe it's been too long since the last virgin hurled into a caldera?

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On the plus side, one of the more astounding things I learned when I taught astronomy was that the atmosphere comes from volcanoes. Something has to provide fresh gases, after all: the earth's escape velocity is not infinite, so our atmosphere is actually slowly but steadily leaking away into space. After billions of years there would be too little left to support life, except that the accumulated outgassing by volcanism over billions of years is enough to keep us comfortably pumped up. Once the earth's core cools and volcanoes stop, nothing will restock the atmosphere and it will slowly go away. This is thought to be why there's so little atmosphere on Mars. Mars is about half the diameter of Earth, so has quite a lot less mass, a lower escape velocity, so it loses air quicker. But it has also cooled faster, because it was a little hot potato instead of a big one, so volcanism stopped a billion years ago or so on Mars, and its atmosphere has leaked away in the time since. Without atmosphere, there's no greenhouse effect, and so since Mars is also farther from the Sun than Earth, Mars is cold. If only Mars were somewhat bigger, it might still have volcanoes, air, and warmth. And it probably did have all those a billion years ago.

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Originally Posted By: Dantius
Originally Posted By: Master1
Yes. I was joking. I am aware of the atmospheric effects of volcanic eruptions.

EDIT: I now realize that the true solution to climate change is a gigantic umbrella to protect us from any extra sunlight!


It's been proposed, and it's actually not as crazy as it sounds. Basically you spew volcanic gases into the air and they block sunlight from entering, and if you calculate it correctly, then the blocking out of the sunlight should perfectly balance the greenhouse effect.

There's a section covering it in much deeper (and more accurate) detail in Superfreakonomics (Which I recommend everybody read, along with Freakonomics, too!)


Fine-tuned calculation? Just convene the International Council once every twenty years and vote to either nuke the icecaps or increase the solar shade to adjust the sea level! [/AlphaCentauri]

Edit: Also, the atmospheric dust is not just counteracting global warming, but also grounding tens of thousands of flights, curbing emissions by hundreds of thousands of tons of CO2. (By comparison, Eyjafjallajökull itself is merely spewing an estimated 8000 tons.)

As long as it doesn't get worse, this eruption might have been ecologically beneficial, overall. Of course, if Katla does blow (which is very possible) we're f---

*lamely* ...in deep trouble.
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Originally Posted By: Student of Trinity
On the plus side, one of the more astounding things I learned when I taught astronomy was that the atmosphere comes from volcanoes. Something has to provide fresh gases, after all: the earth's escape velocity is not infinite, so our atmosphere is actually slowly but steadily leaking away into space. After billions of years there would be too little left to support life, except that the accumulated outgassing by volcanism over billions of years is enough to keep us comfortably pumped up. Once the earth's core cools and volcanoes stop, nothing will restock the atmosphere and it will slowly go away. This is thought to be why there's so little atmosphere on Mars. Mars is about half the diameter of Earth, so has quite a lot less mass, a lower escape velocity, so it loses air quicker. But it has also cooled faster, because it was a little hot potato instead of a big one, so volcanism stopped a billion years ago or so on Mars, and its atmosphere has leaked away in the time since. Without atmosphere, there's no greenhouse effect, and so since Mars is also farther from the Sun than Earth, Mars is cold. If only Mars were somewhat bigger, it might still have volcanoes, air, and warmth. And it probably did have all those a billion years ago.


Well, it initially comes from here, yeah, but other chemical, geological, and biological processes change the composition explaining our lack of a rich sulfur dioxide atmosphere wink.

In fact, if you look at the Earth's very early history, before life, the atmosphere was pretty terrible. But early life radically changed the atmosphere in an alarmingly short time to an oxygen rich one.

Our first atmosphere was Hydrogen and Helium, but that would've evaporated due to the solar wind pretty quickly, especially since very early on the Earth didn't have a magnetic field.

Later on, volcanoes produced a Venus like atmosphere, including, CO2, S2, SO2, CH4, Cl2, NH3, N2, and H2O!

But no oxygen. Almost all of the Early oxygen was produced by early cyanobacteria. They also reduced some of the nitrogen compounds, I think. Other bacteria and chemical/geological processes removed most of the rest of the bad stuff.

But life appears to be the interesting thing that caused the big difference! So life may be one reason why Venus is still like early Earth. So if you dumped huge amounts of bacteria onto Venus you may terraform it in a few billion years! (Well, a bit too late for much interesting to evolve, considering how long our solar system has left, but still.)
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Originally Posted By: cfgauss
So if you dumped huge amounts of bacteria onto Venus you may terraform it in a few billion years! (Well, a bit too late for much interesting to evolve, considering how long our solar system has left, but still.)


That's assuming we can find a suitably large deposit of suitable archaebacteria, because nothing else is really going to be able to cope with the current situation on Venus. Still, an interesting thought experiment.
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Originally Posted By: Ephesos
Originally Posted By: cfgauss
So if you dumped huge amounts of bacteria onto Venus you may terraform it in a few billion years! (Well, a bit too late for much interesting to evolve, considering how long our solar system has left, but still.)


That's assuming we can find a suitably large deposit of suitable archaebacteria, because nothing else is really going to be able to cope with the current situation on Venus. Still, an interesting thought experiment.


I suppose we could always engineer a specific bacteria to perfectly suit the conditions. After all, we've already managed to crate an entire synthetic genome, so in perhaps 10-20 years, we could have terraforming bacteria!
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