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CO2VOLC: Quantifying the global volcanic CO2 cycle

Objective

"Global climate change induced by anthropogenic emissions of CO2 is currently a major issue facing humanity, but uncertainties in the magnitude and rate of climate change remain, and deterministic predictions are beyond our capacity. In this context, the study of how the geochemical carbon cycle established a relatively narrow band of variability in atmospheric CO2 concentrations over the last 400 ka is of great interest. However, large uncertainties in both weathering and volcanic CO2 fluxes prevent a truly quantitative assessment of this critical cycle. Measuring the global volcanic CO2 flux, GVFCO2, would allow us to better understand the likely impact large eruptions have had in Earth’s history, and constrain the natural vs. anthropogenic CO2 flux.

We propose a truly innovative project to address head on the problem of determining GVFCO2. We will create new, compact instruments, utilising cutting-edge laser technologies, which will allow us to measure volcanic CO2, H2O, SO2 and HCl fluxes from aircraft. By flying below and through the volcanic plumes created by ~50 active volcanoes (~10% of all active volcanoes) of the Banda-Sunda arc in Indonesia, the majority of which have never been measured before, we will dramatically increase our understanding of GVFCO2 and geochemical cycles for all these species.

Measuring the volcanic emissions from an entire subduction arc is an unprecedented experiment, providing insight into the slab and mantle heterogeneity and volatile mass balance. Perhaps the most important breakthrough that we will pursue will be the determination of the 37Cl/35Cl ratio from HCl emitted from each volcano. This ratio reflects the mantle/slab source proportion, and allows the input rate of volatiles to the mantle to be measured.

The application of innovative new technology we propose here will produce ground-breaking insights into volcanology, isotope and gas geochemistry, volatile cycles, subduction and climate change."

Field of science

  • /natural sciences/earth and related environmental sciences/geology/volcanology
  • /natural sciences/earth and related environmental sciences/atmospheric sciences/climatology/climatic changes

Call for proposal

ERC-2011-StG_20101014
See other projects for this call

Funding Scheme

ERC-SG - ERC Starting Grant

Host institution

THE UNIVERSITY OF MANCHESTER
Address
Oxford Road
M13 9PL Manchester
United Kingdom
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
EU contribution
€ 649 902,61
Principal investigator
Michael Burton (Prof.)
Administrative Contact
Liz Fay (Ms.)

Beneficiaries (5)

THE UNIVERSITY OF MANCHESTER
United Kingdom
EU contribution
€ 649 902,61
Address
Oxford Road
M13 9PL Manchester
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Principal investigator
Michael Burton (Prof.)
Administrative Contact
Liz Fay (Ms.)
UNIVERSITY OF DURHAM
United Kingdom
EU contribution
€ 60 019,36
Address
Stockton Road The Palatine Centre
DH1 3LE Durham
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Administrative Contact
Wendy Harle (Ms.)
AGENZIA NAZIONALE PER LE NUOVE TECNOLOGIE, L'ENERGIA E LO SVILUPPO ECONOMICO SOSTENIBILE
Italy
EU contribution
€ 33 348,70
Address
Lungotevere Grande Ammiraglio Thaon Di Revel 76
000196 Roma
Activity type
Research Organisations
Administrative Contact
Tiziana Giuli (Dr.)
CONSIGLIO NAZIONALE DELLE RICERCHE
Italy
EU contribution
€ 147 776,66
Address
Piazzale Aldo Moro 7
00185 Roma
Activity type
Research Organisations
Administrative Contact
Pasqualina Pipino (Dr.)
ISTITUTO NAZIONALE DI GEOFISICA E VULCANOLOGIA
Italy
EU contribution
€ 829 952,27
Address
Via Di Vigna Murata 605
00143 Roma
Activity type
Research Organisations
Administrative Contact
Raffaela Pignolo (Dr.)