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Global Warming Might Cause Increased Volcanic Activity in Iceland

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Global Warming Might Cause Increased Volcanic Activity in Iceland

Sólheimajökull glacier, South Iceland

Photo: Páll Stefánsson.

When glaciers covered larger parts of Iceland, there was less volcanic activity in the country, a new study has found. RÚV reports.

The study, led by the University of Leeds, also shows that as the glaciers have melted, volcanic eruptions have increased. This appears to be because of the subsequent changes in surface pressure.

When glaciers melt, there is less pressure on the Earth’s surface, study co-author Dr Ivan Savov explains. “This can increase the amount of mantle melt as well as affect magma flow and how much magma the crust can hold.”

According to Dr Graeme Swindles at the University of Leeds, this has lead researchers to believe that humans’ role in climate change might cause more volcanic eruptions. “Climate change caused by humans is creating rapid ice melt in volcanically active regions. In Iceland, this has put us on a path to more frequent volcanic eruptions.”

Iceland was hit by the so-called “Little Ice Age”, which took place between the years 1500-1850, causing colder climate. The climate has been getting warmer ever since both because of natural and human-caused climate change. The glaciers in Iceland have been melting ever since.

According to Dr Swindles, This makes summits such as COP even more important. “It is vital to understand how actions today can impact future generations in ways that have not been fully realised, such as more ash clouds over Europe, more particles in the atmosphere and problems for aviation.”

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