Scientists on Climate Change
 
Veli Albert Kallio: The Link Between Receding Glaciers and Natural Disasters   
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Greetings, eco-friendly viewers to today’s episode of Planet Earth: Our Loving Home featuring Finnish geophysicist and environmental advocate Veli Albert Kallio.

Mr. Kallio has long dedicated himself to protecting marine and terrestrial ice in the Northern polar region. In 2005 he launched the Frozen Isthmuses Protection Campaign of the Arctic and North Atlantic Oceans (FIPC) and led an international movement to regulate ice-reducing shipping practices. He is also a scientific ambassador of the Environmental Parliament, a UK-based community environmental action group.

Recently subglacial volcanic eruptions, or those eruptions occurring below a glacier, have been occurring with increasing frequency with the acceleration of climate change. For example, on March 20, 2010 Iceland’s Eyjafjallajökull volcano erupted, and on April 14, 2010 a second eruption occurred, scattering volcanic ash into the atmosphere and closing airspace across Europe. In Iceland, glaciers and ice caps cover 11.1% of the land mass, most of which is located above volcanoes.

From April 20 to 22, 2010, the World People’s Conference on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth was held in Cochabamba, Bolivia. More than 35,000 people from 140 countries, representing indigenous peoples, various social and environmental organizations and concerned citizens gathered to discuss solutions to global warming. The final product of the discussions, “The People’s Agreement of Cochabamba” which outlines a new vision to address climate change was presented by Bolivia to the United Nations.

In the aftermath of the Rio de Janeiro Annual Conference, the United Nations invited the world indigenous people to meet the United Nations General Assembly. And at the closing requests, the world indigenous peoples made a petition for the United Nations to investigate their native histories about the ice, ending of the Ice Age, and its implications to current present-day global warming.

At the Conference, Mr. Kallio spoke about how the Greenland ice mass, the largest ice mass in the Northern Hemisphere, is on the verge of collapse, that a seven to 10 meter sea level rise would result from such a collapse and how this is associated with indigenous people’s oral history and their recollections of previous ice age melting.

We now present excerpts from our interview with Mr. Kallio during the Conference regarding the links between glacial melting, sea level rise, volcanoes, earthquakes and global warming. He begins by describing the alarming melt rate of the Icelandic glaciers.

If you look at the many glaciers, they are melting at an increasingly fast rate. The water is very heavy. It’s 850 kilograms per meter cubed because the glacier is basically compressed snow. As you can imagine, when hundreds of meters of ice have been removed in many places, the ground is suddenly a lot less heavy.

The global shrinking of glaciers from climate change can prompt earthquakes, volcanoes, and other geologic events due to a phenomenon called “isostatic rebound.” Retreating ice sheets and volcanic eruptions are closely related during periods of rapid global warming. Volcanic eruptions in Iceland occurred at the end of the ice age about 10,000 years ago. So, thinning and melting ice may soon awaken many other volcanoes in the region.

In Iceland, the situation is distinct in that there is a volcano that started to erupt. One of the causes for this is that the ice sheet in Greenland has been melting a lot and the same for glaciers in Iceland. When the glaciers are melting, the weight of the water has been removed from the ground.

It is far easier to understand the volcano like a sort of Coca-Cola bottle. When you open the cork and you reduce the pressure, the bubbles start forming in the liquid that is stored in the bottle. Now, when the glaciers in Iceland have melted, the weight of the ground has decreased in Iceland and Greenland.

The pressure of Earth’s volcanic magma liquids has decreased, and they have started to create bubbles. There’s this concept of wet solid ooze, which contains the groundwater that has been dissolved as gases of hydrogen and oxygen into this magma liquid. Now, when the pressure in Iceland has been decreasing on these glaciers so dramatically, the magma has started to form these gas bubbles, which have thrown the, magma into an upwards trajectory and causing this volcano (Eyjafjallajökull) to erupt.

And because of the melting of the ice, the volcano starts erupting even more because there’s less pressure, and because of the less pressure there are more bubbles and these bubbles raise more heat and more magma to the surface, and then more ice melts once more. And then eventually cause more and more ice being eaten away until there’s nothing left of the Greenland ice sheet and then the volcano finally loses its power.

Another consequence of huge ice sheets on land melting away and releasing pressure off of the surface is the easing of movement of continental and oceanic plates. With these movements, massive earthquakes can occur.

Lots of earthquakes have been forming. Here in Bolivia and Chile and Ecuador, this big glacier, the Upsala glacier from Argentina. When it melts, the weight of South America has been reduced. And as the result of that, the Pacific plate is pushing easier under the South American continent, and as a result of that, then the earthquakes are becoming more frequent, and these are called the “promoted” earthquakes.

This picture is showing the “promoted” earthquakes on the Alaskan mountains. Under the Alaskan mountains, the same Pacific Plate is pushing under South America.

After this brief message, we’ll return with more from our conversation with Finnish geophysicist Veli Albert Kallio. Please stay tuned to Supreme Master Television.

Welcome back to Planet Earth: Our Loving Home here on Supreme Master Television. Our program today features Finnish geophysicist Veli Albert Kallio, founder, of the Frozen Isthmuses Protection Campaign of the Arctic and North Atlantic Oceans. The current unprecedented rate of glacial thawing is producing earthquakes in Greenland. Mr. Kallio now describes how this is occurring.

The water, now when it melts on the top of the Greenland ice sheet, is not running down back to the ocean. But it falls under the ice dome, and the ice dome is starting to float on its own meltwaters. It loses its contact against the ground and it creates this increasing pressure, so that the ice is oozing out through the ice fields. This section here in Greenland has started to develop lots of earthquakes as the rocks are taking more and more of the weight of the ice that is uphill.

Veli Albert Kallio feels that the negative effects seen following the recent awakening of the Icelandic volcano could pale in comparison to a subglacier volcano awakening in a different location in the country. He believes that the recent eruption in Iceland sounds an alarm about the state of our environment.

So it’s almost certain, the big danger is only when it happens under a big glacier like Vatnajökull or the Greenland ice sheet that it really would melt. When the ice melting becomes more severe, the volcanic eruptions become more frequent. So there’s a real danger of a runaway event and tipping point that it becomes contagious, and this could add to the global warming melting, to destabilize the ice sheet, then the ice will slide out like the indigenous nations have said that it will.

Can you explain the connection between Iceland and Greenland, and how one can affect the other now with this volcano in Iceland? As the ice pressures decrease either Iceland or in Greenland, the outcome of that is a decrease in pressure in magma reservoirs and these magma reservoirs can start suddenly injecting hot rocks into the Greenland ice dome, which could quite easily and possibly and conceivably become a self-perpetuating event.

As more magma comes out, the more bubbles are formed and the more ice is melting until nothing’s left. I would rather say that it is the most dangerous, perhaps one of the most dangerous climatic and geophysical phenomena that has come, this activation of the Icelandic volcano; it could potentially spill out to become a runaway event.

What would happen if the Greenland ice sheet were to collapse into the ocean?

It would affect definitely London (UK) and most of Europe. The sea level rise could be somewhere around seven meters of sea level rise.

And are we talking within five years, ten years?

I would say that’s it’s already possible at any time. It’s just that the probability is increasing; and as nobody really knows how large these melt water lakes are and the Greenland ice sheet, it’s a big question mark.

So potentially, it could happen tomorrow.

That’s it, yes. It could happen virtually tomorrow, and then we would suddenly find out that our society and our way of life would be dramatically crippled by this event.

Methane is a highly dangerous greenhouse gas with 72 times the global warming potential of carbon dioxide over a 20-year period. We asked Mr. Kallio about the threat of large quantities of methane stored in the Arctic seabed being released into our atmosphere because of the warming of our planet.

As the permafrost is melting, the greenhouse gases from the sea beds can start bubbling to the surface, as well as from both onshore and offshore gas fields. So, offshore gas fields are those ones that are on the seabed, onshore gas fields are those that are located on the dry land or under the rivers or under the lakes on the continent. Methane is a very powerful gas. If it starts leaking, it can make a great deal of damage quite fast.

Mr. Kallio strongly recommends immediate public action to mitigate the impact of climate change.

It is very urgent, because there are so many climatic processes becoming active, and this is just one of them. There are probably much more of these processes that we don’t even know about yet, we haven’t seen them.

Our sincere thanks, Veli Albert Kallio for your dedication to protecting Earth’s fragile glaciers and ice sheets. May many more people soon become aware of your important research on these ice bodies and global warming.

Our planet’s current situation will not improve until we address the root cause of climate change. We must halt livestock production and consumption of animal products. If all of humanity quickly switches to the organic vegan diet, the Earth will immediately begin cooling and many of these phenomena such as the melting glaciers, earthquakes and volcanoes will be halted.

Caring viewers, thank you for joining us on today’s Planet Earth: Our Loving Home. Coming up next is Enlightening Entertainment after Noteworthy News. May your noble endeavors bring about greater peace and happiness for all.

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