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The Moon and the Volcano


This article was first posted in June 2010. It is just as relevant today because alarmists are once again deciding that the ash cloud from the Chilean volcano will affect Earth's climate for generations to come. Eruptions settle down again quickly, as do giant oil spills. The Earth knows what to do and how to recover. Volcanoes are part of the living earth. As we humans find ways to release stress, so does the planet. Volcanoes are not an anomaly or part of an ongoing war by Nature upon humans.

At new moon time the sun and moon are in line with the earth and exerting a double gravitational pull. Through this combined gravitational force, Mt Pinatubo in the Philippines erupted on June 12, 1991. On new moon and full moon days extra gravitation stresses the land below surface. Volcanoes, the big ones, also the bigger earthquakes, and cyclones in the cyclone season tend to occur more and in greater intensity on such days.

Everyone seems to have swallowed without question the Pinutabo-affecting-the-global-climate headline. Let's  run a check, using NIWA’s own statistics for, say Auckland, which is part of the globe too, and should therefore also have been affected. This is evidence that climate scientists cross their fingers and hope no one bothers to investigate. The surprise is that the average maximums for Auckland in the years before 1991 were in decline anyway, and simply continued to decline for a year after Pinatubo, then slowly increase again. Yes, a cool winter followed, but it was going that way already.




Average minimums too, showed the same trend. Whatever was making the temperatures go down started in 1990, and so cannot be attributed to Pinatubo, which came along at least a year later. Here's the minimums: 





Well, what about rainfall? Rain figures, too, showed no appreciable post-1991 change. Due no doubt to the cooling of both maximums and minimums, Auckland rainfall increased slightly in 1992, but then dropped sharply after 1992 as average maximums rose.






The telling graph, and the statistic most often touted, is the sunshine decrease, due, we were constantly told, to the added ash in the atmosphere. And indeed for Auckland there was a sharp drop in the year following the 1991 Pinatubo eruption. Oh are we busted?





No. Before we get carried too away with thinking that Pinatubo may have been to blame for the loss in sunshine, let’s look at a longer view. It appears that sunshine drops regularly in Auckland and it is part of a cycle that began way before 1991 and continued afterwards at a regular rate of increase followed by decline.





Then again, perhaps Auckland is an exception, besides, more than one set of data is always required for verification in science. So let us go to the other side of the world, to Dublin, for some equivalent longterm sunshine statistics.




Dublin's sunshine rose after the Pinatubo eruption. Again, after 1991, neither a sharp drop nor anything that shows that 1991 was causal to either an increase or decrease in sunshine over following years. Still, critics may claim, the effects of Pinatubo would be most felt closer to the Philippines. Good point, although at this stage they would be losing this "global" argument. Let us then go to Tokyo, just a few thousand miles downwind of Mt Pinatubo. This is what we find.





Sunshine in Japan was already trending down, probably as a result of urban development and from thick and polluting local city haze preventing the instrumentation from receiving data. 1991 did not cause anything that wasn’t already happening. And in 1998 where we see a bigger descent in the above graph, there was no big nearby volcano to blame. How very inconvenient. The Japanese Meteorological Organisation also collect sun radiation levels, but these figures too show no change until an increase two and a half years after June 1991. If a volcano was going to cause longterm changes it would be a shielding of radiation, not the creation of a radiative increase.





This little exercise suggests that large volcanoes like Pinatubo, like the Chilean event, may be no long-term threat. Yes, they blurt out ash and CO2 high in the air, which is upsetting for locals and for nearby planes, but that is the way, the only way, that all the CO2 gets into the air in the first place, gradually drifting down because of its heavier molecular weight. Our attention is on the inconvenience of air travellers, for misery is how media make their money. But volcanoes are simply doing what they have always done. Every second somewhere on the planet an active volcano pops off and somewhere else a molecule of CO2 is absorbed by a plant or the sea. The concentration of CO2 in the air at any one time is kept roughly constant at 300-400ppm.


Lest global warmers try to score an environmental point out of the Chilean, Iceland or Pinatubo events, let us put to rest the notion that gases ejected into the air, manmade or natural, can ever disrupt climate or weather patterns. We are not able to stop new moons, and new moons and full moons will induce volcanoes, volcanoes will belch out large amounts of CO2, and vegetation will say thank you very much. So far geologists have documented some 135,000 volcanoes above ground, and even that number is scarcely close to the true count, as it is acknowledged that the bulk of the globe’s volcanoes are still under the oceans. One source suggests over a million That makes the number of them spitting out emissions on a daily basis immeasurably huge. The process has been going on for billions of years yet we are still here, the planet is still here and seasons still come and go at the same time of year as they have always done. Climate change would be Rangitoto with summer snow.


There is no reason to predict that anything added to the air is ever going to change anyone's climate. To change climate a country has to suddenly find itself at a different latitude. That means the earth must be knocked off its orbit of rotation. The only thing capable of that might be on the scale of a planet or comet colliding with Earth. One volcano won’t do it, not ever.

Let's pick another case. It was, too, a new moon day when Mt Tambora in Indonesia blew its stack, on April 10, 1815, killing an estimated 92,000 people. That eruption and the resulting massive clouds of dust and ash were said to have affected most of the Northern Hemisphere, causing unusually cool temperatures and some say failed crops in 1816 -- sometimes referred to as "the year without a summer."

The history books tell us about the 3 June,1886, again uncannily coincidentally a new moon night, when we can read, for New Zealand, this account (source:Transactions and Proceedings of the New Zealand Institute 1886) a wave was noted (this night) on Lake Tarawera, causing the waters to rise about 2 feet above the ordinary level, which broke on the shores, washing the boats out of the sheds, and causing some alarm to the Maoris, who, apparently, had never witnessed anything of the kind before. At the same date, some visitors to Rotomahana found that the Pink Terrace had been in eruption, throwing out mud for several yards round, an occurrence which has never been noted before.” The famous Pink and White Terraces, up till then NZ’s biggest tourist attraction and dubbed one of the Seven Wonders of The World, were wrecked. Exactly a week later on the 1st quarter moon, Mt Tarawera erupted again, completely wiping out what was left of the landmark.

Science does not seem to be looking to the moon as a possible trigger for tectonic events. Yet an extraordinarily high new moon tide was recorded at Maketu on the night of the Tarawera eruption, as also occurred just before both the 4 September and 22 February Christchurch earthquakes.

Then there was the volcano that made the four engines of a plane stall of a British Airways Boeing, in 1982, and in NZ the story was a TV1 Close Up item on 16 April. The now-retired pilot recalled that it was a completely dark night. As planes fly above most clouds and any moonlight lights up the whole sky, that information alone tells us it was on or near the night of a new moon.

There was also another geo-magnetic solar storm which began on April 2010 new moon day and continued the next day, the 15th, said to be related to sunspot #11060 which set off a coronal mass ejection as it was rotating around the western limb of the Sun. These seem to chime in when the moon peaks in one of its three main cycles. It is not that the moon causes events to happen on the sun, more like the other way around with sun and moon working together. The reality is the moon responding to solar patterns causing some synchronisation and because the moon is closer to us it is easier to blame the moon for the results. Besides, it is easier to see and measure the moon than the sun.

June 2011's new moon arrived in June 2, on the same day that the moon was furthest north for the month. Another Chilean volcano began on June 4, 2011 when a fissure opened in the Puyehue-Cordón Caulle Volcanic Complex. The MODIS instrument on NASA’s Aqua satellite captured a natural-color image that showed the ash 45,000 feet (14,000 meters) high. That shows that there was a sudden huge pressure release from within the earth. As the plume shot up and blew southeast toward Argentina, heavier particles fell to the ground. According to the Buenos Aires Herald, the border town of Bariloc, Argentina reported as much as a foot (30 centimeters) of ash on the ground.

Straight afterwards the cloud started dissipating and the volcano quietening down. It is the way of these things. It may fire up again when and if internal pressure builds due to the extra gravitation from either a new moon, full moon or perigee. Then again, a planetary alignment can kick things along, and solar activity. Two days before this one happened, on 31 May, there were 105 sunspots, rising to 137 on the 1st - the day before the eruption - then dropping back to 107 on the 2nd. At time of writing, 28 June, the sunspot count was 26. So was Chilean ash on the increase or the wane? Neither.

Global warmers have one fixed agenda - to 'prove' any way they can that the world is getting warmer because of Man. They will find any example they can to show that changing what is in the air will change the weather. Hence their volcano = particles-which-cool-the-atmosphere-because-the-sun-can't-get-through idea. They do not realise the supreme forces impacting the globe, which responds as would a sleepy lion to an annoying hormet. The lion deals to it, or not, and resumes his sleep. And even if one hornet manages to significantly disrupt the lion, it makes no difference to the lion species or the stability of the jungle.

Not every new moon can be shown to cause a volcano and not every volcano is linkable to new moon given the present state of our measurement technology. There are so many volcanoes unrecorded and undetected, the majority being under the oceans, that we wouldn't know unless we could detect and record them all. In the case of Mt Pinatubo in 1991, planes 600 miles away were said to be affected. Perhaps previously unexplained plane crashes on new moon nights may sometime be re-examined. Media stories tend not to try to link new moon to volcanoes. 

Suppose we are trying to push over a brick wall. We have to get our body into a certain position to achieve that. It will not fall over by itself and will not do it just by looking at it. Despite our failures to predict, Nature is never random, and much organization is needed for any event to come about, same as for a child’s birthday party. And just as for a party, to create a big spectacle like a volcano, you need to marshal massive resources. To produce one thunderstorm requires the energy input equivalent to a dozen Hiroshima-sized bombs, because that is how much energy gets released, and one cyclone releases the energy of 45,000 thunderstorms every second. It does not just happen - it has to be collated and assembled by huge forces, requiring no less than the moon and sun getting in certain positions.

The  2010 eruptions of Eyjafjallajökull were  volcanic events which, although relatively small for  volcanic eruptions , caused disruption to air travel across western and northern Europe over six days . The ongoing question in 2010 in the media was, would this volcano affect the atmosphere longterm? The photos were spectacular, the public were spooked. Would the ash shield the sun and create a cooler year such as Pinatubo did after June 1991? But wait - they just assumed that – who actually said that happened? Well, all the scientists said so. All the climate scientists. All the global warmer climate scientists. Nobody actually checked them. 

Perhaps there was the answer, and lines of enquiry usually lead to money and research funding. If a case can be made that putting some impurity into the air can change the climate, even short term, then that provides the alarmists with a handy smoking gun, a defining experiment for the case for global warming - that any emissions put into the air can change global temperatures. And that kind of thinking leads straight to taxes, because governments need to find money to pay for the next round of electoral advertising.

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