Seismic Activity and Global Warming: How Might They be Related?

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Paper Reviewed: Viterito, A. 2016. The Correlation of Seismic Activity and Recent Global Warming. Journal of Earth Science & Climatic Change 7: 345. doi: 10.4172/2157-7617.1000345 volcano

In this intriguing new study, Viterito (2016) shows that increasing seismic activity of the globe’s high geothermal flux areas (HGFAs) — which is indicative of increasing geothermal forcing — is “highly correlated with average global temperatures from 1979 to 2015,” while “the correlation between carbon dioxide loading and global temperatures for the same period is lower.” And he thus notes that “HGFA seismicity is a significant predictor of global temperatures.”

In this regard, the U.S. researcher also reports that “multiple regression indicates that HGFA seismicity is a significant predictor of global temperatures,” but that rising atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations “do not significantly improve the explained variance.” And in light of these facts, Viterito concludes that “future research clearly needs to incorporate seismic and geothermal inputs into global climate models.”

As for the final take-home message of what he learned, Viterito writes that “to ameliorate the problems of rising global temperatures, legislative and taxing initiatives are currently being proposed and evaluated by governing bodies around the world.” However, he notes that “most of these initiatives are designed to curb greenhouse gas emissions,” and he suggests that “we may want to delay such actions until all of the climate system’s inputs are fully accounted for.”

In regard to this latter suggestion, Viterito defends it by noting that (1) “geothermal heat can trigger thermobaric convection and strengthen oceanic overturning,” which phenomena are important mechanisms for transferring ocean heat to the overlying atmosphere,” and that (2) “seismic activity is the leading indicator, while global temperature is the laggard.”
This article appeared on the CO2 Science website at