“One volcano puts out more toxic gases – one volcano – than man makes in a whole year. And when you look at this ‘climate change,’ and when you look at the regular climate change that we all have in the world, we have warm and we have cooling spells.” -John Raese
Every year, dozens of volcanoes actively erupt across the Earth’s surface. In addition, other active volcanoes continue to release greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, and even dormant volcanoes and other fissures in the Earth contribute to our overall carbon dioxide content. If we want to understand the effects that humanity is having on our atmosphere, we need to understand the natural contribution first.
Tremendous advances in measuring these natural contributions have occurred since the 1990s, as we’ve now quantified to a much-improved precision the effects of these natural components. Volcanoes of all types, on average, emit somewhere in the ballpark of 645 million tons of CO2 per year, with occasional large eruptions adding tens or possibly even a hundred million tons to that total.