A minor Volcanic Eruption in Japan creates Ash Clouds that hang around for Days

Posted by PITHOCRATES - July 29th, 2012

Week in Review

We can do a lot to shape our environment to bend it to our will.  We can dam a river to produce electricity.  We can extract raw materials from our environment and transform them into useful things.  We can build a breakwater to block damaging waves from entering a safe harbor.  But other than a nuclear explosion there is nothing we can do to compare to the power of a volcanic eruption.  For they can cool the planet.  And they are erupting all of the time (see Volcano eruption in Kagoshima covers nearby city with ash by Adam Westlake posted 7/27/2012 on The Japan Daily Press).

Sakurajima Volcano has been steadily erupting for the last week, according to the Japan Meteorological Agency, but a larger-than-average eruption on Tuesday has showered nearby Kagoshima City with rocks and ash… Meteorological officials have stated that there have already been more 600 minor eruptions since the beginning of this year alone…

As of Thursday morning, weather agencies reported visible ash clouds still lingering in the air, and with winds primarily coming from the southeast direction, residents have been warned that there may be more ash fall in the days to come. On July 24th, pilots reported seeing ash clouds as high as 8,000 to 12,000 feet, causing the Kagoshima Airport to briefly divert air traffic.

This is why volcanoes can change the weather.  By throwing up soot, ash and sulfur dioxide into the atmosphere it blocks the sun’s warming energy from heating the planet.  Two days after this tiny little eruption ash clouds were still lingering in the air.  Imagine what a large volcanic eruption could do.  Or the aggregate of all the volcanic eruptions in the world.  And the cooling affect they have on the planet.

Interestingly volcanoes aren’t the only thing that throws soot, ash and sulfur dioxide into the atmosphere.  Coal-fired power plants do, too.  Well, at least before we started putting scrubbers on them.  Funny how volcanoes can cool the planet while coal-fired power plants warm the planet.  Not ‘ha ha’ funny.  By the ironic kind of funny.  Another interesting fact is that the planet started warming right around the time we started putting scrubbers on these power plants.  And did other things to limit the emissions from burning coal.  Coincidence?  Or have the environmentalists actually caused global warming because of their actions to prevent global warming?  Perhaps.

You can see this eruption at Video: Sakurajima Volcano Erupts in Japan, Showers Kagoshima City With Ash.  It’s a pretty awesome sight.  And it’s just a minor eruption.  Showing how much more nature can shape our world than we can.

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