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An Estimate of the Likelihood for a Climatically Significant Volcanic Eruption Within the Present Decade (2000-2009)Since 1750, the number of cataclysmic volcanic eruptions (i.e., those having a volcanic explosivity index, or VEI, equal to 4 or larger) per decade is found to span 2-11, with 96% located in the tropics and extra-tropical Northern Hemisphere, A two-point moving average of the time series has higher values since the 1860s than before, measuring 8.00 in the 1910s (the highest value) and measuring 6.50 in the 1980s, the highest since the 18 1 0s' peak. On the basis of the usual behavior of the first difference of the two-point moving averages, one infers that the two-point moving average for the 1990s will measure about 6.50 +/- 1.00, implying that about 7 +/- 4 cataclysmic volcanic eruptions should be expected during the present decade (2000-2009). Because cataclysmic volcanic eruptions (especially, those having VEI equal to 5 or larger) nearly always have been associated with episodes of short-term global cooling, the occurrence of even one could ameliorate the effects of global warming. Poisson probability distributions reveal that the probability of one or more VEI equal to 4 or larger events occurring within the next ten years is >99%, while it is about 49% for VEI equal to 5 or larger events and 18% for VEI equal to 6 or larger events. Hence, the likelihood that a, climatically significant volcanic eruption will occur within the next 10 years appears reasonably high.
Document ID
Document Type
Wilson, Robert M. (NASA Marshall Space Flight Center Huntsville, AL United States)
Franklin, M. Rose
Date Acquired
August 19, 2013
Publication Date
January 1, 2000
Subject Category
Distribution Limits
Work of the US Gov. Public Use Permitted.