While funding is injected into the prevention of low -probability scenarios such as the collision of asteroids, the many probable Moreover threat of a large volcanic eruption is almost ignored – despite everything that could be done to reduce the risk, according to the researchers.
According to experts from the Center for the Analyze of Existential Risk ( CSER) of the University of Cambridge and the University of Birmingham, the world is “terribly sub-prepare” to a huge volcanic eruption and its probable repercussions on global supply chains, climate and food.
In an article published in the journal Nature, they say there is a “big misconception” that the risks of major eruptions are low, and describe the lack current government investment in surveillance and response to potential volcanic disasters as “reckless”.
However, researchers claim that measures can be taken to protect themselves against volcanic devastation – from improved surveillance to increased public education and the manipulation of magma – and the resources necessary to do so have been expected for a long time.
“Data collected from ice cores on the frequency of eruptions over deep time suggest there is a 1 in 6 chance of a magnitude seven outburst over the next hundred years. It is a dice throw, ”said the article co-author and the CSER researcher Dr Lara Man, expert in risk World Wide.
“ Gigantic eruptions caused a brutal climate change and the collapse of civilizations in a distant past. ”
Man. km of substantial crashing into the Earth. Such events would have similar climatic consequences, but the likelihood of a volcanic disaster is hundreds of times as well as high that the ODDS combined with an asteroid or comet collision.
“Hundreds of Hungs of Thousands of Dollars are injected each year into asteroid threats, but there is a serious lack global financing and coordination for volcanoes, ”said Mani. “This needs to change urgently. We completely underestimate the risk that volcanoes represent for our companies. ”
An eruption in Tonga in January was the majority important ever recorded in an instrumental manner. The researchers say that if it had lasted in addition for a long time, released as well as of ashes and gas, or if it had occurred in an area full of critical infrastructure – like the Mediterranean – then the world shock waves would have could have been devastating.
“The Tonga eruption was the volcanic equivalent of an asteroid narrowly missing Earth, and should be treated as a wake-up call,” said Mani.
CSER gurus cite recent research detecting the regularity of major eruptions by analyzing traces of sulfur spikes in samples of ancient ice. An eruption ten to a hundred times larger than the Tonga explosion occurs once every 625 years, twice as often as previously thought .
“The last magnitude seven eruption was in 1815 Indonesia,” the co-author said. , Dr. Mike Cassidy, Professional in volcanoes and guest researcher of the CSER, now based at the University of Birmingham.
“We think that 100 000 people died locally and that global temperatures have dropped on average degree, causing bad massive harvests that led to famine, violent upruns and epidemics during what was called the year without been, “he said.
“ We now live in a world with eight times the uninhabitants and Furthermore forty times the level of exchanges. Our complex global networks could still make us additional vulnerable to shocks of a major eruption. ”
The financial losses of a large -scale eruption would amount to several Billions and a pandemic-like scale, experts say.
Mani and Cassidy outline steps they believe should be taken to help predict and manage the possibility of an eruption altering the planet, and helping to mitigate the damage caused by in addition to small and additional frequent additions.
This is in particular an identification in precise addition of the risks. We only know the locations of a handful of the 97 eruptions classified as large magnitude on the “Volcano Explosivity Index” over the past 60 000 last years. This means that there could be dozens of dangerous volcanoes dotted around the world with extreme destructive potential, of which humanity has no idea.
“We don’t Maybe not even know the relatively recent eruptions due to a lack of research on sea and lake nuclei, especially in neglected regions such as Southeast Asia, ”said Cassidy. “Volcanoes can remain asleep for a long time, but always be capable of sudden and extraordinary destruction.”
follow -up must be improved, say the CSER experts. Only 27% of eruptions since 1950 have had a nearby seismometer, and only a third From this data has been further introduced into the world’s foundation of data for “volcanic difficulties”.
“Volcanologists are demanding a satellite dedicated to volcanoes monitoring since twenty years,” Mani said. “Sometimes.”
Experts also call for more research on the “geoengineering” of volcanoes. This includes the need to study the means to counter aerosols released by a huge eruption, which could lead to a “volcanic winter”. They also say that work to investigate the handling of magma’s pockets under active volcanoes should be undertaken.
Handled: “Assign the volcanic behavior can seem inconceivable, but the deflection of asteroids was until the development of NASA’s Planetary Defense Coordination Office in 2016. The risks of a huge eruption that devastates world society are important. The current underinvestment in responding to this risk is simply reckless.”