Visitor publication

Experts say risk of catastrophic volcanic eruption is alarmingly high: world 'completely unprepared'

Posting time:2023-03-26 05:24:33

Experts say risk of catastrophic volcanic eruption is alarmingly high: world 'completely unprepared'

According to experts from the University of Birmingham and the Centre for Existential Risk Research (CSER) at the University of Cambridge, the world was very ill-prepared for a catastrophic volcanic eruption and its expected impact on global supply networks, climate and food. They say there is a "widespread misconception" that the likelihood of a large-scale volcanic eruption is low, and a recent article in Nature said the government's current lack of investment in monitoring and mitigating possible volcanic disasters is A reckless behavior. But protective measures against volcanic damage -- including better monitoring, increased public education and magma manipulation -- could be put in place, and the resources needed to do so are long overdue, the researchers said. "Data collected from ice cores on the frequency of deep temporal bursts suggest that there is a 1 in 6 chance of a magnitude 7 explosion within the next hundred years," said study co-author Dr. Lara Mani, CSER Fellow and Global Risk Specialist. "It's a chance to roll the dice. In the distant past, this massive eruption has caused sudden climate change and the collapse of civilization," said Mani. Mani likened the threat of a massive eruption to a 1-kilometer-wide asteroid Threat of hitting the Earth. Similar climatic consequences would result from such disasters, but volcanic disasters are hundreds of times more likely than asteroid or comet collisions. Mani said: "Hundreds of millions of dollars are invested in the threat of asteroids every year, yet there is a severe lack of global funding and coordination in volcano preparation. This situation urgently needs to change. We completely underestimate the impact of volcanoes on our society. Risks to come." The largest instrumental eruption ever recorded occurred in Tonga in January. According to experts, the global shock wave could be catastrophic if the eruption lasted longer, emitted more ash and gas, or occurred in a place with vital infrastructure such as the Mediterranean Sea. "The Tonga eruption is the equivalent of an asteroid that just missed Earth and needs to be treated as a wake-up call," Mani said. The CSER experts cited recent research that examined the regularity of major eruptions by analyzing traces of sulphur spikes in samples of ancient ice. Eruptions 10 to 100 times larger than the Tonga explosion occur every 625 years -- twice as often as previously thought. "The last magnitude seven eruption occurred in Indonesia in 1815," said paper co-author Dr. Mike Cassidy. He is a volcano expert and visiting researcher at CSER, now at the University of Birmingham. “An estimated 100,000 people died locally, global temperatures dropped by an average of 1 degree and caused massive crop failures, which in turn led to famine, violent uprisings and epidemics in what has been called a year without a summer. We now live in The world, with eight times the population and more than forty times the level of trade. Our complex global network may make us more vulnerable to a major outbreak," Cassidy continued. Experts believe the financial damage from a massive volcanic eruption could run into the trillions, rivaling a pandemic on a scale. Mani and Cassidy Dee outline steps they say need to be taken to help predict and manage the potential for Earth-altering eruptions and help mitigate damage from smaller, more frequent eruptions. These include more accurate identification of the location of risks. We only know the location of a small fraction of the 97 massive eruptions that have been listed on the "Volcanic Eruption Index" over the past 60,000 years. That means there could be dozens of dangerous volcanoes scattered around the world that have the potential to cause extreme damage without humans knowing about it. "We may not even be aware of relatively recent volcanic eruptions due to a lack of studies of ocean and lake cores, especially in neglected regions such as Southeast Asia. Volcanoes may have been dormant for long periods of time but still be capable of sudden, extraordinary destruction," Cassidy said. CSER experts say monitoring must be improved. Since 1950, only 27% of volcanic eruptions have had seismometers in their vicinity, and only one-third of the data has been re-entered into the global database of Volcanic Turbulence. "For more than two decades, volcanologists have been calling for a dedicated volcano monitoring satellite. Sometimes we have to rely on the generosity of private satellite companies to get quick images," Mani said. Engineering" research. This includes the need to investigate means of combating the aerosols released by massive eruptions, which could lead to a "volcanic winter". In addition, they said, work should be done to investigate the manipulation of magma pockets under active volcanoes. Mani added: "It may seem inconceivable to directly affect volcanic behavior, but so did the deflection of asteroids prior to the creation of NASA's Planetary Defense Coordination Office in 2016. The risk of a massive volcanic eruption disrupting global society is enormous. Underinvesting in dealing with this risk is simply reckless."

Top ranking