Monckton claims volcanoes emit CFCs

Monckton responding to an email about how volcanoes cause ozone depletion:

I'm not familiar enough with the inner workings of the
general-circulation models, so I'm not sure how it is that the ozone
hole appears only over the Antarctic. One possibility is that the
circumpolar circulation (which sailors take advantage of) acts as a
cage for the weather within. Another, which I'm trying to find data
for, is the volcanic activity of Mount Erebus, Antarctica's active
volcano. In a good year for eruptions, Erebus can put out as much CFCs
as Man used to. It would be very amusing if the activity cycle of
Erebus correlated neatly with the opening and (now) the gradual
closing of the ozone hole. So your point about volcanic activity could
be right on the mark.

Volcanoes do not emit CFCs. They do emit HCl, but only a very big eruption will send this into the stratosphere. Robert Parson writes:

To conclude, we need to say something about Mt. Erebus. In an
article in 21st Century (July/August 1989), Rogelio Maduro
claimed that this Antarctic volcano has been erupting constantly
for the last 100 years, emitting more than 1000 tons of chlorine
per day. Mt. Erebus has in fact been simmering quietly for over a
century [ARS] but the estimate of 1000 tons/day of HCl only applied
to an especially active period between 1976 and 1983 [Kyle et al. 1990].
Moreover, that estimate has been since been reduced to 167 tons/day
(0.0609 Mt/year). By late 1984 emissions had dropped by an order of
magnitude, and have remained at low levels since; HCl emissions
at the crater rim were 19 tons/day (0.007 Mt/year) in 1986,
and 36 tons/day (0.013 Mt/year) in 1991. [Zreda-Gostynska et al.]
Since this is a passively degassing volcano (VEI=1-2 in the active
period), very little of this HCl reaches the stratosphere. The
Erebus plume never rises more than 0.5 km above the volcano,
and in fact the gas usually just oozes over the crater rim. Indeed,
one purpose of the measurements of Kyle et al. was to explain high
Cl concentrations in Antarctic snow.

By comparison CFCs put >0.3 Mt/year into the stratosphere.

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We are watching a show where Monckton is digging himself in deeper. It is so surreal...

By Antti Van Wonterghem (not verified) on 23 Nov 2006 #permalink

Erebus can put out as much CFCs as Man used to

Well, yes, this is perfectly true if one is thinking of the time period 1492-1624, or 3000-2000 BCE, times when Man used to emit 0 tons/day of CFCs. But golly, it appears there's more than just the inner workings of general circulation models with which Monckton is not familiar.

There have, in fact, been a few reports, mostly from Russia, of CFC's in volcanic emissions. This is not terribly surprising since volcanoes do produce copious quantities of HF, and meaurable quantities of methyl chloride. So there is some opportunity for hydrogen abstraction reactions to take place before the HF condenses out of the plume. (Molina and Rowland actually raised this possibility in one of their early papers.) The real question is the size of the source. The exponential increase in atmospheric CFC concentrations durign the 1970's and 1980's, followed by their dramatic levelling off and subsequent decline, is hard to reconcile with any significant natural source, unless one believes that the world's volcanoes are abiding by the Montreal Protocol.

By Robert P. (not verified) on 23 Nov 2006 #permalink

Er, also, what gradual closing of the ozone hole? I know this is what we're all hoping will happen, but I had the impression it wasn't happening yet.

By Steve Bloom (not verified) on 23 Nov 2006 #permalink

This seems to be another spreading "anti-greenie" myth. I met it a couple of weeks ago in a comment at Tim Blair's and tried to squash it.

There is also a smaller ozone hole/"dimple" over the north pole. It's smaller mainly because the polar ozone depletion mechanism happens at very low temperatures in sun-lit ice (or frozen nitric acid) clouds. Those conditions are routine in the antarctic spring, less common in the North. There is also less dramatic 3-6% ozone depletion over middle latitudes, via a different mechanism which is the main reason for the Montreal Protocol


The detailed mechanism by which the polar ozone holes form is different from that for the mid-latitude thinning, but the proximate cause of both trends is believed to be catalytic destruction of ozone by atomic chlorine and bromine.

... the only other large-scale depletion is a smaller ozone "dimple" observed during the Arctic spring over the North Pole. Ozone at middle latitudes has declined, but by a much smaller extent

Well, one can be surprised by a lot of things, but there may be some "natural" source of CF4. As to volcanic sources of CFCs, I remain skeptical. In both cases at low concentrations it is easy to be fooled by back mixing of atmospheric gases. See for example The Origin of Stable Halogenated Compounds in Volcanic Gases Matthias Frische; Kristin Garofalo; Thor H. Hansteen; Reinhard Borchers; Jochen Harnisch

Methods. In order to obtain new evidence of a volcanic origin of these compounds, we collected repeatedly, during four field campaigns covering a period of two years, gases from fumaroles discharging over a wide range of temperatures at the Nicaraguan subduction zone volcanoes Momotombo, Cerro Negro and Mombacho, and analysed them with very sensitive GC/MS systems.

Results and Discussion. In most fumarolic samples certain CFCs, HFCs, HCFCs, halons, and the fully fluorinated compounds CF4 and SF6 were present above detection limits. However, these compounds occur in the fumarole gases in relative proportions characteristic for ambient air.

Conclusion. This atmospheric fingerprint can be explained by variable amounts of air entering the porous volcanic edifices and successively being incorporated into the fumarolic gas discharges.

Well whats wrong with that?

This is what you need. The high-priesthood have made a hash of things. You need outsiders coming in and working all the angles.

Science isn't about being a know-all. In the first instance its about working all the angles like Tom Reagan in Millers Crossing.

In the first instance its about maxing out on inductive inferences....

For one thing because thats a cheap way to do things.

Later on comes the field work and the data and the statistical analysis to see what the reality is.

The alarmists instead made a single one-step inference about the effect of CO2 on the wider climate system.

Strictly speaking this inductive inference turned out to be WRONG (at least on the decadal time-frame)

So now they dress this turd up in fancy-pants statistics and other frilly clothes.
notiz=[Graeme Bird makes more sense this way]

BeNice says, "You need outsiders coming in and working all the angles".

What BeNice means is outsiders who are mangling, twisting and distorting science to bolster a pre-determiend worldview and a political agenda. That's what the 'outsiders' do best; also getting paid big bucks from polluting industries doesn't hurt, either. BeNice also fails to reveal that most of the 'outsiders' are pundits with no scientific pedigree or pseudoscientists who hardly publish anything in rigid scientific journals.

Conclusion: the 'outsiders' are a waste of time and space.

By Jeff Harvey (not verified) on 24 Nov 2006 #permalink

Don't bother. BeNice is Graeme Bird.

"fancy-pants statistics and other frilly clothes"

Congressman Foley, is that you.

I like to measure my "little soldier" in the metric system (even though it is French).

Those who are parsimonious with their time might have seen the reference to 21st CS&T and stopped reading the Maduro discussion right there. Those who are not, or who just need a good hoot, are invited to check it out. You can catch up on cold fusion while you're there!

The Maduro book is scientifically way out of date and in any case a bit sensationalistic. The problem with proving or disproving CFCs from volcanoes is that almost all studies to date were hampered by procedural design. Rei Rassmussen sampled ambient air on volcanoes (including Erebus!), not volcanic gases (all others directly tapped jetting gases from the ground). Isidorov had analytical problems, the groups around Armin Jordan and Matthias Frische used evacuated flasks but no independent checks on air entrainment (and found compound ratios similar to air). The study by Schwandner and co-workers at least showed clear analytical evidence of air entrainment during sampling (or beneath) not being evident in their approach. More scientific work is clearly needed to adress the question of CFCs from volcanoes.
On the other hand, with regards to the question of significance, all publications published to date point to volcanoes being an extremely weak background source of CFCs (see compilation in the same paper by Schwandner and by Jordan). Let's see if anybody wants to pay for more research like that...

So it looks like Monckton was wrong. And so was Lambert to totally dismiss a volcano-CFC link. A 0-0 draw and retractions all 'round I guess.

Though it doesn't look like Monckton is committed to the idea anyway, but was just responding to somebody else with an emphatic "maybe".

Volcanic eruptions destroy ozone and create 'mini-ozone holes', according to two new studies by researchers at the Universities of Cambridge and Oxford.

Halogen emissions from a small volcanic eruption: Modeling the peak concentrations, dispersion, and volcanically induced ozone loss in the stratosphere

Wardell, L.J.; Kyle, P.R.; and Counce, D.; Volcanic metal and halogen emission rates from White Island, New Zealand and Mt. Erebus, Antarctica based on the chemical trap method, submitted, Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research, 2003.

Monckton lands another scalp,he is playing a very clever game here reminiscent of Kasparov

By maksimovich (not verified) on 24 Nov 2006 #permalink

right - the observation that halogens from stratosphere-penetrating eruptions can cause local ozone loss of limited duration, is justification for Monckton claiming that eruptions of Erebus (which do not penetrate the stratosphere) emit as much CFCs as "man used to" and is potentially the cause of the antarctic ozone hole.

Got it.

Maksimovich, like all non-scientists, you are speaking utter tripe. Even if volcanoes poke 'mini-holes' in the ozone layer, this does not explain the alarming phenonmenon described initially by Rowland and Molina more than twenty years ago. Volcanic activity has characterized planet Earth since time immemorial, and yet if the large ozone hole was primarily due to volcanic activity, complex organic molecules - leading invariably to life itself - could never have arisen. I spoke with an atmospheric chemist in the University of Denmark a couple of years ago about the apparent 'ozone hole' and he said that there is 100% proof that the extent of the hole is man-made. What annoyed him was that idiotic shills like Maduro and Ray ever got any attention with their vacuous unscientific garbage.

So sorry Maksimovich, as usual Monckton scores a big fat zero.

By Jeff Harvey (not verified) on 24 Nov 2006 #permalink

he is playing a very clever game here reminiscent of Kasparov


Monckton compared to Kasparov in the same breath!

Hoo-boy. Thanks for that laugh; son, you are, if I may say it, a clown.

Pardon my lack of decorum (or Dano-level of sometimes decorum), but what a mendacicizing clown. I guess this last comment will be enough to refer anyone to if there's anyone out there with a question about mak's credibility.





Someone refresh my memory, was it Kasparov who during a match with Fischer used tactics like swearing at Fischer in Russian; making obscene gestures; farting; belching and picking his nose and demanding toilet breaks every fifteen minutes?

By Ian Gould (not verified) on 27 Nov 2006 #permalink

Kasparov never played Fischer nor did he ever behave in the disgusting manner alleged by Gould.

By Tim Curtin (not verified) on 27 Nov 2006 #permalink

Now, that would be a match - Fischer and Kasparov in their primes. I'd like to see Garry take on the Sicilian.




In the spirit of Skeptic Bingo:

The Crackpot Index
John Baez

A simple method for rating potentially revolutionary contributions to physics:

A -5 point starting credit.

1 point for every statement that is widely agreed on to be false.

2 points for every statement that is clearly vacuous.

3 points for every statement that is logically inconsistent.

5 points for each such statement that is adhered to despite careful correction.

5 points for using a thought experiment that contradicts the results of a widely accepted real experiment.

5 points for each word in all capital letters (except for those with defective keyboards).

5 points for each mention of "Einstien", "Hawkins" or "Feynmann".

10 points for each claim that quantum mechanics is fundamentally misguided (without good evidence).

10 points for pointing out that you have gone to school, as if this were evidence of sanity.

10 points for beginning the description of your theory by saying how long you have been working on it.

10 points for mailing your theory to someone you don't know personally and asking them not to tell anyone else about it, for fear that your ideas will be stolen.

10 points for offering prize money to anyone who proves and/or finds any flaws in your theory.

10 points for each new term you invent and use without properly defining it.

10 points for each statement along the lines of "I'm not good at math, but my theory is conceptually right, so all I need is for someone to express it in terms of equations".

10 points for arguing that a current well-established theory is "only a theory", as if this were somehow a point against it.

10 points for arguing that while a current well-established theory predicts phenomena correctly, it doesn't explain "why" they occur, or fails to provide a "mechanism".

10 points for each favorable comparison of yourself to Einstein, or claim that special or general relativity are fundamentally misguided (without good evidence).

10 points for claiming that your work is on the cutting edge of a "paradigm shift".

20 points for emailing me and complaining about the crackpot index. (E.g., saying that it "suppresses original thinkers" or saying that I misspelled "Einstein" in item 8.)

20 points for suggesting that you deserve a Nobel prize.

20 points for each favorable comparison of yourself to Newton or claim that classical mechanics is fundamentally misguided (without good evidence).

20 points for every use of science fiction works or myths as if they were fact.

20 points for defending yourself by bringing up (real or imagined) ridicule accorded to your past theories.

20 points for naming something after yourself. (E.g., talking about the "The Evans Field Equation" when your name happens to be Evans.)

20 points for talking about how great your theory is, but never actually explaining it.

20 points for each use of the phrase "hidebound reactionary".

20 points for each use of the phrase "self-appointed defender of the orthodoxy".

30 points for suggesting that a famous figure secretly disbelieved in a theory which he or she publicly supported. (E.g., that Feynman was a closet opponent of special relativity, as deduced by reading between the lines in his freshman physics textbooks.)

30 points for suggesting that Einstein, in his later years, was groping his way towards the ideas you now advocate.

30 points for claiming that your theories were developed by an extraterrestrial civilization (without good evidence).

30 points for allusions to a delay in your work while you spent time in an asylum, or references to the psychiatrist who tried to talk you out of your theory.

40 points for comparing those who argue against your ideas to Nazis, stormtroopers, or brownshirts.

40 points for claiming that the "scientific establishment" is engaged in a "conspiracy" to prevent your work from gaining its well-deserved fame, or suchlike.

40 points for comparing yourself to Galileo, suggesting that a modern-day Inquisition is hard at work on your case, and so on.

40 points for claiming that when your theory is finally appreciated, present-day science will be seen for the sham it truly is. (30 more points for fantasizing about show trials in which scientists who mocked your theories will be forced to recant.)

50 points for claiming you have a revolutionary theory but giving no concrete testable predictions.

© 1998 John Baez

I think that has been updated by John Baez since 1998, I'm fairly sure I haven't seen some of those higher scoring moves before. I think some of them, such as 20 points for each use of the phrase "hidebound reactionary" and 20 points for each use of the phrase "self-appointed defender of the orthodoxy" seem to be unreasonably high scoring. Or does the fact that I occasionally indulge in something similar to them myself say more about me than I'd have been wise to mention ... on second thoughts it may be the extra descriptives, the "hidebound" and "self-appointed", that earn the money points there.

Good fun, and recognisably well-founded!

Er, also, what gradual closing of the ozone hole? I know this is what we're all hoping will happen, but I had the impression it wasn't happening yet.

Recently the hole has gotten larger. It probably has something to do with the current cooling in the Antarctic region. Cold air fascilitates the breakdown of ozone which is why the hole is down there in the first place. When the area gets colder (or the area of cold gets larger) then you would expect a bigger hole. Thats my understanding anyway.

By Terje (say tay-a) (not verified) on 04 Dec 2006 #permalink

There was a time in the not so distant (pre-internet) past when the uninformed musings of the Monckton's of the world would not have received the time of day.

Now, they get debated ad infinitum which is exactly what such people thrive on.

Best to ignore entirely little children looking for attention.

Back in October 1988, two scientists at the Buenos Aires National University, working in the Laboratory of Geophysics (LAGE), did a study on a series of ozone mini-holes wandering above Usuhaia city, capital of Tierra del Fuego. Those scientists were Dr. Ernesto A. MartÃnez, and Dr. Isidoro Orlansky. Orlansky is presently working at NASA (he has been doing it now for many years.)

Their conclusions (alas, not in the internet -but can be searched in Buenos Aires LAGE database, I guess), were that UV-B radiation levels passing through an ozone mini-hole were in average 150 watts/m2. UV-B values under the Antarctic ozone hole at Argentinean Base Marambio are in average 100 watts/m2. At the same time of the day, values recorded in Buenos Aires are above 300 wattts/m2.

They also stated in the press conference they gave when talking about their discovery (there was a great deal of hysteria about the Ozone hole then) that "If ozone levels decreased 50%, something that occur only a few days and only in very reduced areas of Antarctica,, and all other parameters were constant, UV radiation would increase 15%, and global radiation would increase a mere 1.5%.

As we know, traveling towards the Equator line increase UV-B radiation about 10% every 90 km or so. It follows that people living in Miami should have about three times more skin cancers that those living in Toronto. Do they?

In the same press conference Dra. Victoria Tafuri, in charge of measuring ozone levels (with one of the 4 special spectrometers donated by the American Science Foundation -she was returning from the NOZE expedition made by NASA, along with Susan Solomon), declared that "The wrongly called ozone hole in Antarctica is circumscribed to the Antarctic continent, and there are not scientific reasons to presume it could reach Argentina's territory" (She is right, ozone levels over Patagonia are much higher, sometime double, than over the tropics. Check your color scales gentlemen).

She also added "The story of the ozone hole only benefits corporate and industrial interests. The lack of ozone does not produce skin cancer -as it has been repeatedly expressed in the media- although the skin cancer problem could derive from an excess exposure to the sun without the protection of those products we have been using for decades." Closing her statement Dra. Tafuri said; "We have not recorded any ozone decrease above Buenos Aires in the last 25 years." She had a lot of courage to come out and tell the scientific truth amidst the pandemonium of hysteria that had spread the world since the British Antarctic Survey "discovered" (reinvented) the hole in 1985.

George Dobson would feel ashamed of the people that have taken his place at the Survey.

By Eduardo Ferreyra (not verified) on 21 Dec 2006 #permalink

Nice of you to pop by, edufer. Meanwhile, the US EPA has data on ozone decreases across the USA:

Meanwhile, cancer rates depend upon a host of factors, from age to exposure to behaviour when exposed. Australia has a program to encourage people to reduce exposure to the sun, and it appears to be bearing some fruit: