When Will It Happen?

In the topic of global warming there is not really a good grasp on when it will really start to have big effects on the earth. And the truth is that we can only predict and not ever really know when there will be big changes. As I was reading my RSS feed, I came across this story that really relates to this topic of uncertainty.

New studies say that there will be another eruption in Yellowstone and that scientists will be able to predict where it will occur. Well towards the top of the article National Geographic states that they can predict where there is a better probability of some volcanoes erupting someday. Well the part that caught my eye was the word “someday.” What good is knowing where it will erupt if you have no idea when it will in the future?

Well I know you might say that it is good to know where it will erupt so that we will be ready if it happens again, but the last time that two of these potential eruption sites went off was 174,000 to 70,000 years ago. But the third site has erupted in recent years. So I feel like we should be very little concerned about this problem.

Later in the article National Geographic talks about how massive eruptions have come out of Yellowstone that have had consequences that cover regions of land around it in lava. As a result, some people have given Yellowstone the name “super volcano”. In this next quote I want you to pay attention to the time period over which these huge blasts occurred.

The Yellowstone region is often referred to as a “supervolcano” because it has spewed more than 240 cubic miles (a thousand cubic kilometers) of ash and lava in a single event. The most recent of these massive blasts occurred some 640,000 years ago.”

Pay attention to the part about 640,000 years ago. Again, why should we be concerned about things that happened so long ago and have so little chances of happening in thousands of years to come. They do not have any evidence that this will happen again anytime soon. And a little bit later in the article, a scientist says that even the chances of a smaller blast occurring are 1 in 10,000. So why worry about all of this now?

So as you can see, this really relates to the topic of uncertainty in global warming. Now this uncertainty is a little more dramatic than global warming is but they share the same concept. The next eruption could happen in thousands of years and Global Warming could not have catastrophic effects in the next 100 years. But there always is that small chance that it could happen soon, and this creates the uncertainty.


4 responses to “When Will It Happen?”

  1. maryt0017 says :

    I agree with you that in the case of the Yellowstone volcano creating uncertainty, and that people will not want to take any action because this could end up not being a problem at all for quite some time. However, I disagree that global warming will not affect anything in the next 100 years; global warming has already started, with effects such as hurricane Katarina, and the Arctic ice at a record low. I think that people are not necessarily uncertain about when global warming will begin to affect Earth as much as they are about when global warming will begin to affect them and their individual daily lives.

    • austinh0017 says :

      maryt I agree that global warming has started to happen already but I just don’t think that this theory of the world ending and global warming ruining our earth will happen soon in the future of the earth.

      • omarim0017 says :

        But austinh, look at the magnitude of this eruption. 240 cubic miles! I don’t know about you, but I think that could kill a lot of people. Should we really risk it? Risk something that is so uncertain to happen but if it does it could scorch a national landmark and have soot and ash spread across hundreds of miles, cooling what ever is underneath the massive shadow it casts? Even a slight chance of the end of the world shouldn’t be overlooked. And even though an eruption of Yellowstone wouldn’t be the end of the world, it would end a lot of people.

  2. clarkbeast says :

    Omari, I don’t know what you’re driving at. How are we “risking” anything in regards to a Yellowstone eruption? It’s not like that eventuality is anything we can even remotely affect or control (unlike climate change). I think Austin was trying to raise interesting questions about how we respond to comparative risks. Is 1 in 10,000 enough of a risk to worry about? (What about 1 in 1,000? Or 1 in 100? 50/50? 97 to 3?)

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