The occurrence of volcanic activities in several parts of the world has flooded not only various media outlets but also the social media realm. The most recent and the most threatening one, perhaps, is that of the Taal Volcano in Batangas.
Textbooks have taught us that such activities not only poses a threat to wildlife and to the welfare of humans but can also crucially impact the climate situation of the world. In fact, research shows that volcanic activity can cause short-term climate changes and can contribute to natural climate variability.
How does this happen?
According to the UCAR Center for Science Education, gases and volcanic particles, once disbursed in the atmosphere, shade incoming solar radiation, lowering the temperature and cooling the climate that can last for months to years depending on the kind of eruption.
In the same way, climate change was also said to trigger volcanic activities.
How? Through large ice masses called glaciers.
Research found that the expansion of these ice masses found within volcanoes apply pressure on the surface; thus, affecting magma flow and, consequently, altering its behavior aboveground. When these ice masses start to melt and the pressure is lifted, volcanic activity surges.
“After glaciers are removed, the surface pressure decreases, and magma more easily propagates to the surface and, thus, erupt,” University of Leed Associate Professor of Earth System Dynamics Graeme Swindles expressed in a report.
But here’s the problem: glaciers are rapidly melting away because of the rapid rise in global temperature, called “climate change.”
This may not only result in altering the world’s sea level but might also trigger the occurrence of volcanic eruptions.
“It takes relatively less time to melt ice if the temperature goes up, compared with growing ice when it gets colder. So if you’re looking at a period of [warming and subsequent] volcanic flare-up, the lag might be a lot shorter […] as the climate warms, eruptions seem to get bigger,” Swindles stated in the report.
It’s a simple equation, really; climate change affects the melting of glaciers which, in turn, triggers volcanic activity. Nevertheless, it is also important to note that this is not always the case, as is the case of most volcanic activity.
Science is a general observation that produces varying outcomes depending on the manipulation of variables. Regardless of this, the truth that volcanic eruption or volcanic activity cannot be predicted still remains.
In essence, the whole ordeal simply reminds us that our actions are not limited to certain results but can impact the bigger picture of the situation.
In this particular scenario, what should be our call-to-action? Take care of the Earth and battle climate change.
Climate change has started to affect every aspect of the world, posing a threat to future generations.
At present, various organizations, such as the Climate Reality Project, World Wide Fund for Nature, Greenpeace Philippines, and Mother Earth Foundation, to name a few, advocate for making the urgent and necessary actions to address this world crisis. These actions range from wildlife conservation, energy preservation, waste management, and everything in between.
But the question now is this: what can we, as citizens of the society, do to contribute to this fight?
Despite not being members of such organizations, our actions, regardless of how big or small it may be, can still have a significant impact on the situation; and just like what we always say, the little things can go a long way.
Simple actions such as conserving energy, observing the 3Rs of sustainability, and acting against the waning of the global ecosystem, among others, may not only result in big changes but may also contribute to the improvement of the world’s climate and environmental situation.
At the end of the day, whether volcanic activities are triggered by climate change or simply because of a country’s geographical placement along the Ring of Fire, it should not stop us from advocating and striving for environmental conservation and preservation.
Here is the reality: in this day and age, knowledge, vigilance, and action is the key to achieving the change that we are striving for; but to truly fulfill this goal, collective action is a must.
In the long run, what we are fighting, for now, will not only benefit us today but will also determine the fate of future generations.