Phil for Humanity Phil for Humanity
A Guide for the Survival of Humankind and Helping the World, Society, and Yourself.

Volcanoes versus Global Warming

I thought I had a really good idea for counteracting the effects of global warming. However after thinking it through, I decided using volcanoes to stimulate global cooling is not necessarily a good solution for global warming.

I learned in school that an increase in volcanic activity was probably, at least partially, responsible for the Little Ice Age during the Middle Ages. Additionally, it was probably the Industrial Revolution in the 1800s that helped finally end the Little Ice Age.

Furthermore, it would be logical to assume that if the planet is experiencing global warming, then it would be necessary to eventually cool the planet. I believe it would be relatively easy to trigger volcanoes into eruption with sufficient explosives and/or missiles. The ash released into the atmosphere from these volcanic eruptions would surely lower the temperature of the planet by blocking sunlight reaching the surface of the planet. Of course, these volcanoes would have to be extremely remote (away from most human populations) and already active.

Unfortunately, there are several problems with this idea.

First, it is impossible to control the effects of an erupting volcano. For instance, how much ash would be produced? How much ash would be necessary? How long will each eruption last? I do not know the answers to these questions, and I do not think anyone can know. I could be wrong.

Second, another problem is that most ash is toxic or at least harmful to all air breathing life. It is equivalent to polluting the air more. I do not think we need to pollute the planet more to help stabilize Earth's temperature. Again, I could be wrong.

Additionally, this ash in the atmosphere would decrease the amount of light reaching plant life on the surface of the planet. This light is critical for the production of most of the food that we eat, as well as for mental health and solar energy. I do not think that we would want to decrease the production energy or food yields. Then again, global warming may be doing most of that already.

Finally, the ash in the atmosphere will eventually settle back to the Earth, and the effects of global warming would quickly return. I suspect ash would only stay in the air for at most a decade or two at most, probably only a few years with a lot of rain. So, this plan is at best only a temporary solution to global warming.

In conclusion, this idea to artificially cool the planet by triggering volcanic eruptions has several problems. However, there is no other solution at this time for global warming. This idea may turn into a real plan as a last ditch effort to help try to make the planet more hospitable for human life after we humans have already ruined our environment.

I believe that the best solution is to stop the source of global warming, rather than trying to find ways of counteracting it.

by Phil for Humanity
on 02/18/2009

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