Jindal, Volcanoes, Science Money, and Global Warming

Share

First:  Redoubt had a little mini-event the past couple of days.  That’s the reason we monitor volcanoes.  They are MORE dangerous than hurricanes and can kill more people.

I found a liberal site the other day that asked if there wasn’t just one Republican who was willing to stand up for science.

WELL, YOU FOUND HER!

I’ll take science just about any day of the week – over say – a Tom Tancredo rant, or being forced to have Mark Levin or Michelle Malkin shoved down my throat. As far as I’m concerned, Bobby Jindal made a total and complete fool out of himself Tuesday evening when he complained about the 150 or so million bucks that will be spent for volcano monitoring.

There are times when Republicans make fools of themselves – and this is one of those times.  Bobby Jindal has basically removed himself from any possibility of being POTUS.  And – any one who stands up for his stupidity is just as stupid as is he.

We need science.

I don’t like government spending unless it is for the military, NASA, Space, and Science.  Volcano monitoring is science.  It is no different than the millions spent on studying and chasing hurricanes.  Of course, if Jindal had a brain in his pretty little head he would know that.  Instead, he chose to take a swipe at Sarah Palin with his stupid remark.

There are reasons we monitor volcanoes.  They are dangerous.  They actually kill more people than hurricanes and can do just as much damage. Unlike hurricanes that have a “limited” geographical damage path, volcanoes can do “world wide” damage.

They are one of the main causes of global cooling – FYI.  They can also hide under the arctic ice and mimic global warming.  If we had the money to spend on monitoring volcanoes, we just might be able to disprove one of the most “important” aspects of “global warming”.

It seems there is this little unknown volcano under the Antarctic ice causing all that melting – NOT global warming.  Even the NYTimes is now forced to admit that the volcano may be the cause of all that alleged global warming glacial melt.

Still want to dump the volcano monitoring money?

“…For Antarctica, “This is the first time we have seen a volcano beneath the ice sheet punch a hole through the ice sheet,” Dr. Vaughan said.

Heat from a volcano could still be melting ice and contributing to the thinning and speeding up of the Pine Island Glacier, which passes nearby, but Dr. Vaughan doubted that it could be affecting other glaciers in West Antarctica, which have also thinned in recent years. Most glaciologists, including Dr. Vaughan, say that warmer ocean water is the primary cause.

Volcanically, Antarctica is a fairly quiet place. But sometime around 325 B.C., the researchers said, a hidden and still active volcano erupted, puncturing several hundred yards of ice above it. Ash and shards from the volcano carried through the air and settled onto the surrounding landscape. That layer is now out of sight, hidden beneath the snows that fell over the subsequent 23 centuries.

Although out of sight, the layer showed up clearly in airborne radar surveys conducted over the region in 2004 and 2005 by American and British scientists. The reflected radio waves, over an elliptical area about 110 miles wide, were so strong that earlier radar surveys had mistakenly identified it as bedrock. Better radar techniques now can detect a second echo from the actual bedrock farther down.

The thickness of ice above the ash layer provided an estimate of the date of the eruption: 207 B.C., give or take 240 years. For a more precise date, Mr. Corr and Dr. Vaughan turned to previous observations from ice cores, which contained spikes in the concentration of acids, another byproduct of eruptions. Scientists knew that an eruption occurred around 325 B.C., plus or minus a few years, but did not know where the eruption occurred. “We’re fairly confident this is the same eruption,” Dr. Vaughan said.

Now, they know both time and place.

“It’s probably within Alexander the Great’s lifetime, but not more precise than that,” Dr. Vaughan said.

The under-ice eruption was probably similar to one in Iceland in 2004. Although explosive, spewing ash more than seven miles in the air, the Iceland eruption was much less powerful than Mount St. Helens, the volcano in Washington State that blew off its peak in 1980….”

H/T Strata-sphere

FYI – Do you know how many American lives are at risk from Volcanic Hazards?  Try Mount Rainier for a start. Monitoring is critical for the safety of people in Hawaii, Alaska, California, Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Wyoming, Montana, (and even New Mexico – where there is a lava flow under the town of Soccoro that is expected to punch through to the surface in the next 50 years or so).

Did you know monitoring volcanoes saves money?

“…Before the cataclysmic eruption, about 1,000,000 people lived in the region around Mount Pinatubo, including about 20,000 American military personnel and their dependents at the two largest U.S. military bases in the Philippines–Clark Air Base and Subic Bay Naval Station. The slopes of the volcano and the adjacent hills and valleys were home to thousands of villagers. Despite the great number of people at risk, there were few casualties in the June 15 eruption. This was not due to good luck but rather was the result of intensive monitoring of Mount Pinatubo by scientists with the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS) and the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS).

The first recognized signs that Pinatubo was reawakening after a 500-year slumber were a series of small steam-blast explosions in early April 1991. Scientists from PHIVOLCS immediately began on-site monitoring and soon declared a 10-kilometer- (6-mile-) radius danger zone around the volcano. They were joined in a few weeks by USGS scientists from the Volcano Disaster Assistance Program, a cooperative effort with the Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance of the U.S. Agency for International Development….

The USGS and PHIVOLCS estimate that their forecasts saved at least 5,000 lives and perhaps as many as 20,000. The people living in the lowlands around Mount Pinatubo were alerted to the impending eruption by the forecasts, and many fled to towns at safer dis tances from the volcano or took shelter in buildings with strong roofs. Additionally, more than 15,000 American servicemen and their dependents were evacuated from Clark Air Base prior to the June 15 eruption. In the eruption, thousands of weaker roofs, including some on Clark, collapsed under the weight of ash made wet by heavy rains, yet only about 250 lowland residents were killed. Of the 20,000 indigenous Aeta highlanders who lived on the slopes of Mount Pinatubo, all but about 20 were safely evacuated before the eruption completely devastated their villages. Some might have left on their own–troubled by the steam blasts and earthquakes that preceded the eruption–but most would have remained had it not been for the forecasts and government-led evacuations.

In addition to the many lives saved, property worth hundreds of millions of dollars was protected from damage or destruction in the eruption. When aircraft and other equipment at the U.S. bases were flown to safe areas or covered, losses of at least $200 to 275 million were averted. Philippine and other commercial airlines prevented at least another $50 to 100 million in damage to aircraft by taking similar actions. By heeding warnings of hazardous volcanic ash clouds from Pinatubo, commercial and military pilots avoided severe damage to their aircraft and potentially saved hundreds of lives. Other commercial savings are harder to quantify but were probably less than $100 million, and there is no way to estimate the sentimental or monetary value of the personal property saved by families….

The monitoring of Mount Pinatubo in 1991 and the successful forecasting of its cataclysmic June 15 eruption prevented property losses of at least $250 million (this figure is intentionally conservative and should be considered a minimum value). No monetary value has been placed on the more than 5,000 lives saved, although other cost-benefit analyses have used values from $100,000 to $1 million per life.

Even when the costs of developing the portable monitoring capability and of the earlier studies of Mount Pinatubo are included, the total costs of safeguarding lives and property from the volcano’s June 15, 1991, eruption were only about $56 million. The savings in property alone amounted to at least five times this total investment!

Although savings may not always be as dramatic as those realized at Pinatubo, many lives can be saved and major property losses avoided in other volcano crises through similar relatively modest investments in volcano monitoring and eruption forecasting. The experience gained by scientists during Pinatubo’s 1991 eruption crisis is being used by the USGS Volcano Hazards Program in the United States and by PHIVOLCS in the Philippines to better protect people’s lives and property from the future volcanic eruptions that will inevitably occur….”

Share

One thought on “Jindal, Volcanoes, Science Money, and Global Warming

  1. I couldn’t agree more with your view of Gov. Jindal’s silly remarks. In his attempt to win CPAC, which Romney won today, he went out on the far scape or reality and became disassociated.

    I’ll make a prediction. If the Republicans continue to move at hyper light speed to the right, if someone like Florida Governor Crist is not the Republican nominee but some right-wing nut is, then McCain’s loss to Obama will look like a victory compared to the 2012 election.

    Love your blog. You are as even handed as I’ve found. That is something we need more of.

Comments are closed.