The recent doubling of known underwater volcanoes is a very significant geological discovery, but it has been largely ignored in mainstream media. It is the latest example of how the promotion of human-caused climate change has led to the downplaying of any science news that runs the risk of opening discussion about the natural forces surrounding the constantly changing climate. A group of oceanographers led by the Scripps Institute of Oceanography in San Diego identified in total 19,325 new volcanoes, or seamounts, to add to the existing known total of 24,643.
Erupting volcanoes under the sea produce huge quantities of carbon dioxide and must play a part in pushing warming water and nutrients around the surrounding areas, with possible effects on currents and surrounding marine life. Some scientists believe that they play an important part in ocean mixing and have a role in determining long-term climate. The science writer Jo Nova observes that climate modellers take a different view, since they believe all unexplained warming is due to CO2. With a hint of sarcasm, she added: “The Pacific Ocean cycles are the largest driver of climate on Earth, but we ‘know’ as only high priests can, that volcanoes we’ve never studied definitely had no role in it.”
Almost all mainstream media seem to have ignored the story, bar, so far as I can tell from a Google search, The U.K. Sun and Newsweek in the U.S. Since the story broke, the BBC has led its specialist climate page with a variety of clickbait Net Zero stories, noting a recent ‘record’ single day temperature in Spain, a query as to whether climate change is “killing” Australian wine, the use of kitchen fumes to heat a restaurant, and a suggestion that life in the ocean ’twilight’ zone is at risk due to warming. Keen climate fact-check attackers Reuters and Agence France-Presse (AFP) appear quiet on the matter, as do the Guardian, Washington Post, New York Times and CNN.
Curiously, the BBC’s volcanophobia seems a recent condition. In 2015, it ran a story titled ‘Underwater volcanoes discovered off Australia’. The story said that a grand total of four extinct seamounts had been identified near Sydney. Volcano expert Richard Arculus is reported to have told AFP that, “every time we turn the spotlight on the sea floor we see things that we’ve never seen before”.
Only 20% of the ocean floor has been mapped by sonar, and these latest discoveries arise from improvements in the gravity data from satellite altimetry. These allow scientist to gain much more information about the topography of the sea floor. Scientists speculate that there could be many thousands of seamounts still to be discovered. Jo Nova reports that the second largest volcano in the solar system is not to be found on the Jupiter moon Io, but 1,000 miles east of Japan. It is the size of the British Isles. In January 2022, a massive seamount explosion 40 miles off the Tonga coast sent tsunami waves crashing around the region.
The Scripps scientists stress that “seamounts are valuable characteristics of the ocean floor since they provide insight on many of the Earth’s geological, oceanographical and ecological cycles and processes”. In addition they note that ocean floor levels have an important effect on ocean circulation, with large seafloor features such as ridges and plateaus acting as “barriers” that inhibit deep cold water to mix with the warmer waters of the ocean surface. Recent studies are said to suggest that seamounts can have an influence on ocean circulation, which can help scientists better understand the uptake of heat and carbon dioxide in the ocean. Heat transfers between ocean and atmosphere, and the movements from equatorial regions to the poles, are difficult if not impossible to fully plot, but they play a vital part in regulating short-term weather and longer term climate around the world.
The role of seamounts could cause warming or cooling, we simply don’t know. But only climate models – the ‘high priests’ – have all the answers, and they ignore all the effects of seamounts, particularly the thousands yet to be discovered. The lack of interest in the media about this latest discovery is indicative of how much geology, chemistry, physics and other scientific work is effectively off-limits under the settled climate change guidelines. It is difficult not to conclude that such protection is given, lest the unproven hypothesis of overwhelming human involvement is challenged.
The Daily Sceptic has noted on a number of occasions that over the last seven decades there has been little or no warming in Antarctica. According to a recent paper, sea ice has “modestly expanded” and warming has been “nearly non-existent” over much of the ice sheet. But there has been some warming in one spot, over on the west side of the continent. Carbon dioxide is well mixed in the atmosphere so it is a valid scientific question to ask why it only warns the surface in this one patch? An alternative explanation might note the existence of a chain of volcanoes in the area. In 2017, scientists discovered 91 volcanoes in the West Antarctica Rift System. It brought the number of volcanoes located in the area to 138. The heights ranged from 300 to 12,600 ft, with the tallest as high as Mount Fuji.
The more we learn about the geography of the planet and the science behind the chaotic processes of the oceans and atmosphere, the less we really comprehend how climate evolves. So we rely on the flawed inputs and outputs of basic climate models to convince us we are heading for climate Armageddon, and only a top-down, collectivist Net Zero solution can save us from our folly.
Chris Morrison is the Daily Sceptic’s Environment Editor.