Relationship between earthquakes and climate change

What Climate Change Has to Do with Earthquakes, Volcanoes and Tsunamis

relationship between earthquakes and climate change

A changing climate doesn't just cause floods, droughts, and heatwaves. Between about 20, and 5, years ago, our planet underwent. A new book suggesting a link between man-made climate change and increased seismic events has got some stick, but what does the science. of recent research that shows a troubling link between climate change Changing Climate Triggers Earthquakes, Tsunamis and Volcanoes.

In one recent study, Dr Brandes and his colleagues assessed changes at a major fault zone running across Denmark during the Pleistocene Epoch — the time period that lasted from about 2. They wanted to understand the melting and shrinking of glaciers in northern Denmark, in an area called Jutland.

How climate change triggers earthquakes, tsunamis and volcanoes

It turns out that much of the present-day shape of this region is the result of the retreat of glaciers as they melted — a souvenir of the last ice age. This research is deeply relevant today if we are to understand the long-term effects of climate change, especially warming temperatures and their influence on the melting of polar ice caps and glaciers.

Understanding the potential triggering of earthquakes in populated areas within Arctic and Antarctic zones of the planet is also an issue of public safety — we need to know how fast these structures can move, and how much and how rapid ice-sheet melting needs to occur before faults are activated.

relationship between earthquakes and climate change

Because many people live in earthquake-prone regions, a huge proportion of the global population is at risk of injury or death due to buildings collapsing.

Understanding the effects that earthquakes have on sediments under buildings is therefore of great importance. Dr Brandes and his colleagues applied their skills to generate new data on soft-sediment deformation structures that result from earthquakes.

relationship between earthquakes and climate change

Specifically, they investigated sediment structures that formed in young sediments within the upper Senne region of Germany. This region is in the vicinity of an important fault called the Osning Thrust — one of the major tectonic faults to occur in Central Europe. These are structures that form due to seismic shaking. Fluid sediments can move in these environments in similar ways to the lava flows we normally associate with volcanic eruptions, forming sediment tubes clastic dykessills, and even sand volcanoes.

This research is important at the local level, since it is the first time that features related to the movement of fluids have been directly related to a major fault in northern Germany.

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There are also key global implications to this research, as discussed above — if characteristic sediment movements are triggered by earthquakes, it is possible to then predict their effects on buildings and areas with high population densities. Such clues left in the ground also allow scientists to identify the after-effects of earthquakes that happened in the past, especially those we can find in historical records. Additional faults evolved during the Mesozoic Era.

The current hurricane season is by no means extraordinary, and the last few seasons have actually been very tame. The season saw no major hurricanes at all and tied with for the fewest hurricanes since This view was supported recently by Kerry Emanuel, a hurricane scientist at MIT, who pointed to Matthew as a likely sign of things to come.

How climate change triggers earthquakes, tsunamis and volcanoes | World news | The Guardian

Debate within the hurricane science community has in recent decades been almost as hostile as the storms themselves, with researchers, on occasion, even refusing to sit on the same panels at conferences. At the heart of this sometimes acrimonious dispute has been the validity of the Atlantic hurricane record and the robustness of the idea that hurricane activity had been broadly ratcheting up since the s. Now, the weight of evidence looks to have come down on the side of a broad and significant increase in hurricane activity that is primarily driven by progressive warming of the climate.

For many, the bottom line is the sea surface temperature, which is a major driver of hurricane activity and storm intensification.

Does Climate Change Really Trigger Earthquakes?

Last year saw the warmest sea temperatures on record, so it should not be a surprise. As with hurricanes, Pacific typhoons and the mid-latitude storms that periodically batter the UK and Europe are forecast to follow a similar pattern in an anthropogenically warmed world. Storm numbers may not rise, but there is likely to be an escalation in the frequency of the bigger storm systems, which tend to be the most destructive.

Why Climate Change Is Making Hurricane Season Worse & The Strong Connection Between The Two - TIME

An additional concern is that mid-latitude storms may become clustered, bringing the prospect of extended periods of damaging and disruptive winds. The jury is out on whether climate change will drive up the number of smaller, but potentially ruinous vortices of solid wind that make up tornadoes, although an apparent trend in the US towards more powerful storms has been blamed by some on a warming atmosphere.

It would be wrong to imagine, however, that climate change and the extreme events it drives are all about higher temperatures and a bit more wind and rain.

  • Dr Christian Brandes – Can Climate Change Cause Earthquakes?
  • What Climate Change Has to Do with Earthquakes, Volcanoes and Tsunamis

We are pretty familiar with the idea that the oceans swell as a consequence of the plunging atmospheric pressure at the heart of powerful storms, building surges driven onshore by high winds that can be massively destructive. Similarly, it does not stretch the imagination to appreciate that a warmer atmosphere promotes greater melting of the polar ice caps, thereby raising sea levels and increasing the risk of coastal flooding.