Quantcast

Scientists Weigh Volcano's Global Impact as Bali Residents Evacuate

Mount Agung eruption on Nov. 28, 2017. I Gusti Bagus Sudiantara / Flickr

On Wednesday the Indonesian government opened an airport on Bali as wind blew away ash spewing out of a volcano, clearing the air for planes and giving residents and tourists a chance to escape.

In the past several days, the volcano has disrupted operations at Bali's airport, the second-busiest in Indonesia, while tens of thousands of residents living within a 10-kilometer radius of Mount Agung have been told to leave. Around 43,000 people had fled, but an estimated 90,000 to 100,000 people were still living in the eruption zone.


Earlier in the week Indonesia's National Disaster Management Authority (BNPB) warned that eruptions are increasing and declared the highest level of alert for a volcano. The BNPB warned that there is a large risk of lahar flows if the volcano erupts. Lahar flows are mudflows that contain volcanic debris and are capable of destroying everything in their path. President Joko Widodo begged residents living in the danger zone to move to emergency centers.

The last time Mount Agung erupted was in 1963, and the incident killed more than 1,000 people.

Outside Bali, scientists are waiting to see how the volcano affects the earth's temperature. "Most eruptions do not have a meaningful climate impact, and so the risks associated with the eruption are limited to the nearby population," Chris Colose, a NASA climate scientist told Vox. "For climate, the big thing to pay attention [to] isn't the ash but the sulfur emissions." Sulfur dioxide reacts in the sky in such a way that it scatters sunlight and cools the planet.

The last time Mount Agung erupted it brought global temperatures down by between 0.1 and 0.2°C for a year. A climate researcher at Carbon Brief, Zeke Hausfather, has showed that this round of eruptions could have a similar effect lasting until 2020.

On Twitter, Erik Klemetti, a volcanologist at Denison University wrote, "the eruption at Agung in Indonesia has been relatively small so far, but with lava at the summit crater, it is anyone's guess how it proceeds from here."

See the video below for a live broadcast of the volcano:

Sponsored
IKEA is working on a specially-designed, air-purifying curtain called the GUNRID. IKEA

Air pollution within the home causes 3.8 million deaths a year, according to the World Health Organization. A recent University of Colorado in Boulder study reported by The Guardian found that cooking a full Thanksgiving meal could raise levels of particulate matter 2.5 in the house higher than the levels averaged in New Delhi, the world's sixth most polluted city.

But soon, you will be able to shop for a solution in the same place you buy your budget roasting pans. IKEA is working on a specially-designed, air-purifying curtain called the GUNRID.

Read More Show Less
The first member of the giant tortoise species Chelonoidis phantasticus to be seen in more than 100 years. RODRIGO BUENDIA / AFP / Getty Images

A rare species of giant tortoise, feared extinct for more than 100 years, was sighted on the Galápagos island of Fernandina Sunday, the Ecuadorian government announced.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
Elena Pueyo / Moment / Getty Images

By Adda Bjarnadottir, MS

Opinions on coffee vary greatly—some consider it healthy and energizing, while others claim it's addictive and harmful.

Read More Show Less
Morning fog over a boreal forest in Alaska. Alan Majchrowicz / Stockbyte / Getty Images

By Jennifer Skene and Shelley Vinyard

For most people, toilet paper only becomes an issue when it unexpectedly runs out. Otherwise, it's cheap and it's convenient, something we don't need to think twice about. But toilet paper's ubiquity and low sticker price belie a much, much higher cost: it is taking a dramatic and irreversible toll on the Canadian boreal forest, and our global climate. As a new report from NRDC and Stand.earth outlines, when you flush that toilet paper, chances are you are flushing away part of a majestic, old-growth tree ripped from the ground, and destined for the drain. This is why NRDC is calling on Procter & Gamble, the manufacturer of Charmin, to end this wasteful and destructive practice by changing the way it makes its toilet paper through solutions that other companies have already embraced.

Read More Show Less
Cycling advocates set up "ghost bikes," like this one in Brooklyn, in memory of bikers killed in traffic. Nick Gray / CC BY-SA

By John Rennie Short

As cities strive to improve the quality of life for their residents, many are working to promote walking and biking. Such policies make sense, since they can, in the long run, lead to less traffic, cleaner air and healthier people. But the results aren't all positive, especially in the short to medium term.

Read More Show Less