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10 April 2014 11:44 am ,
Vol. 344 ,
The Pyrenean ibex, an impressive mountain goat that lived in the central Pyrenees in Spain, went extinct in 2000. But a...
Tight budgets are forcing NASA to consider turning off one or more planetary science projects that have completed their...
Ebola is not a stranger to West Africa—an outbreak in the 1990s killed chimpanzees and sickened one researcher. But the...
In an as-yet-unpublished report, an international panel of geoscientists has concluded that a pair of deadly...
Tropical disease experts tried and failed before to eradicate yaws, a rare disfiguring disease of poor countries. Now,...
Since 2002, researchers have reported that agricultural communities in the hot and humid Pacific Coast of Central...
Balkan endemic kidney disease surfaced in the 1950s and for decades defied attempts to finger the cause. It occurred...
- 10 April 2014 11:44 am , Vol. 344 , #6180
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ScienceShot: Volcano CO2 Emissions No Match for Human Activity
14 June 2011 3:30 pm
A popular myth among climate change skeptics is that volcanic emissions of carbon dioxide dwarf those generated by humans. But a new report in today's issue of Eos reveals precisely the opposite: In a mere 2 to 5 days, smokestacks, tailpipes, and other human sources of CO2 spew a year's worth of volcanic emissions of that greenhouse gas. According to the paper, five recent studies suggest that volcanoes worldwide (such as Alaska's Shishaldin, shown) emit, on average, between 130 million and 440 million metric tons of CO2 each year. But in 2010, anthropogenic emissions of the planet-warming gas were estimated to be a whopping 35 billion metric tons. Individual events—such as Mount Pinatubo, whose major eruption in 1991 lasted about 9 hours—can produce CO 2 at the same rate that humans do, but they do so only for short periods of time. It would take more than 700 Mount Pinatubo-sized eruptions over the course of a year to emit as much carbon dioxide as people do, the study notes.
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