A new research study found that seafloor volcanoes play an integral role in climate variations. The study, led by Maya Tolstoy of Columbia University’s Earth Institute, is published in Geophysical Research Letters.

Land-based volcanoes have been studied to greater details and have been attributed to climate change; however, little attention has been given to seafloor volcanoes. The latest research found that even underwater volcanoes could catalyze natural climate change.

Ms. Tolstoy said in a statement that seafloor volcanoes have been ignored on the idea that their influence could be litter, assuming they could be in a steady state. However, that is not a fact. Moreover it is also nearly impossible to observe undersea volcanic eruptions.

Sea-floor volcanoes release approximately eight times more lava annually than land volcanoes. Moreover they emit about 88 million metric tons of CO2 every year.

Nature World News reported that the flare ups are triggered by changes in sea levels and Earth’s orbit. CO2 output from sea-floor volcanoes would increase significantly if they were to flare up, which could even shift Earth’s temperatures.

Underwater volcanoes respond to very large forces as well as to small ones, and that emphasizes the need to study them much more closely.

Tolstoy and her team of researchers utilized sensitive new seismic instruments, which allowed them to monitor 10 submarine eruption sites.

Observing eruptions could help predict future weather patterns and hence it is of importance to integrate these pulses into the climate models, explained Ms. Tolstoy. She also noted that underwater eruptions and sea levels impacted each other in cycles, which could be partly attributed to the output of CO2.

The eruption data used in the latest study span over 700,000 years. Data analysis suggested that undersea eruptions might have prompted greater amounts of greenhouse gases to release during an ice age and their higher atmospheric concentrations might have melted the ice and thus contributed to end the ice age.

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