Saturday 21 March 2009

The BBC and global warming

The BBC, and especially the Radio 4 Today programme, are obsessed with Global Warming. A survey on bird distribution in the UK becomes an excuse to blame Global warming, flooding in English towns and Global Warming is brought up; some mornings it seems that Global Warming is the only problem in the world. So the huge volcano off the Tongan coast that is creating a new island in the sea set me thinking. The BBC report complete with video describes the volcano as "shooting smoke, steam and ash into the air". I wonder is it not also spewing water vapour and CO2 (as well as methane and nitrous oxide). So I did a little Wikipedia researching amd guess what? The main Greenhouse gases "ranked by their contribution to the greenhouse effect ... are:

* water vapor, which contributes 36–70%
* carbon dioxide, which contributes 9–26%
* methane, which contributes 4–9%
* ozone, which contributes 3–7%"

And the principal components of volcanic gases given of by an erupting volcano are:
"water vapor (H2O), carbon dioxide (CO2), sulfur either as sulfur dioxide (SO2) (high-temperature volcanic gases) or hydrogen sulfide (H2S) (low-temperature volcanic gases), nitrogen, argon, helium, neon, methane, carbon monoxide and hydrogen. Other compounds detected in volcanic gases are oxygen (meteoric), hydrogen chloride, hydrogen fluoride, hydrogen bromide, nitrogen oxide (NOx), sulfur hexafluoride, carbonyl sulfide, and organic compounds. Exotic trace compounds include methyl mercury, halocarbons (including CFCs), and halogen oxide radicals.

The abundance of gases varies considerably from volcano to volcano. However, water vapor is consistently the most common volcanic gas, normally comprising more than 60% of total emissions. Carbon dioxide typically accounts for 10 to 40% of emissions."

Maybe a scientist could calculate the effect on world H20 and CO2 levels of the Tongan volcano and maybe Al Gore and Gordon Brown could work out how to tax this polluting volcano or maybe Tonga itself.

1 comment:

defender said...

You have given me the text of the poster I will carry at the G20 riot.