International Committee on issues of Global Changes of the Geological Environment, “GEOCHANGE”

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GEOCHANGE: Problems of Global Changes of the Geological Environment. Vol.1, London, 2010,  ISSN 2218-5798

Chapter 7.
The Role Of Natural Factors In Global Climate Change


One of the most important issues in global climate change studies is to reveal the priority of anthropogenic or natural factors’ influences. In recent years, more and more scientists feel inclined to conclude that natural processes are the primary cause of global climate change.

IPCC’s stance is well-known. Now, let us review some basic geologic factors which are also capable of affecting global climate change.

We shall consider the basic natural factors which may have a significant impact on global climate change:           

           1.Drift of Earth’s geographic pole
           2.Drift of Earth’s geomagnetic pole and fluctuations of magnetospheric parameters

           3.Change of the angular velocity of Earth’s rotation

           4.Change of Earth’s endogenous activity

           5.Solar activity


Hipparchus discovered the phenomenon of axial precession in 123 BC. James Bradley discovered another phenomenon, nutation of Earth’s axis of rotation, in 1755. Fig. 67 demonstrates the trajectory of the Geographic North Pole’s 1996-2000 motion.

The maximum aberration of the instantaneous pole from the mean pole was observed in 1996, followed by its spiral winding and coming to a minimum distance from the spiral’s center by 2000. The pole was unwinding from 2000 to 2003; now it is winding again, gradually moving in a spiral course and approaching its mean position (N. S. Sidorenkov, 2004).

The most distant displacement of the instantaneous pole from the mean pole has never exceeded 15m. Spiral winding and unwinding of the trajectory of the instantaneous pole is explained by the fact that it performs two periodic motions: a free motion with a period of about 14 months (named the Chandler wobble after S. Chandler discovered it in 1891), and a forced motion with a one-year period, Fig 67.


Fig. 67. Geographic North Pole’s trajectory of motion between 1996 and 2000.
Solid curve represents trajectory of mean pole from 1890 to 2000.
(According to International Earth Rotation and Reference Systems Service, 2000)

The Chandler wobble occurs when Earth’s axis of rotation deviates from the axis of its greatest moment of inertia. The forced motion is caused by the action on Earth of periodic atmospheric and hydrospheric forces with a one-year cyclicity. We will not go further into what causes the Chandler wobble and many other types of movement of Earth’s axis, which are well described in N. S. Sidorenkov’s study (2004). Meanwhile, it is obvious that the complex oscillations of Earth’s axis and, consequently, of its geographic pole, have an impact on global climate processes since it is “swings” of Earth’s axis that bring about seasonal climate changes.


The problem of drifting of the North Geomagnetic Pole is described in more detail in the previous sections. This section demonstrates that the problem of examining the relationship between the drift of Earth’s North Geomagnetic Pole and global climate change is of topical importance. Fig. 68 compares a graph representing the change in velocity of the North Geomagnetic Pole with a graph of variations of Earth’s global temperature. The initial comparison suggests a certain correlation between these two processes. One can notice that almost all periods of acceleration of the magnetic pole’s motion coincide with periods of global temperature rise.

Fig. 68. Comparison of graphs for North Magnetic Pole’s drift
velocity variations and global temperature change (by E.N.Khalilov, 2010)

1 – graph for North Magnetic Pole’s drift velocity variations;
2 – graph for global temperature change (
Hansen J. et al., 2006);
A,B,C – identical periods of increased values of magnetic pole’s drift rate and global atmospheric temperature.

The geomagnetic field forms a kind of magnetic shield that prevents solar radiation, including charged high-energy particles, from penetrating to Earth’s surface.

At the same time, there are so-called cusps, or polar gaps, in polar ice cap regions. They receive the radiation material of the solar wind and interplanetary space; i.e., the polar regions are penetrated by a huge amount of extra matter and energy, which leads to “heating” of polar ice caps.

Of course, the change in position of the geomagnetic poles entails shifting of cusps and, as a consequence, of regions of high solar and cosmic radiation flux to Earth. Naturally, this process ought to cause redistribution of our planet’s system of cyclones and anticyclones and lead, in our opinion, to serious global climate change.

It is difficult to overestimate the role of Earth’s magnetosphere in the redistribution of solar and cosmic ray energy entering Earth’s atmosphere and surface. The magnetosphere regulates the flux of solar and cosmic radiation into Earth’s atmosphere and onto its surface (J. K. Hargreaves, 1982).

The magnetosphere is the part of near-Earth space where the motion of charged particles is controlled by the geomagnetic field.

The impartiality of this study rests upon the use of the research findings and conclusions of reputable scientists who have devoted their lives to studying the physics of atmospheric processes and their relationship to solar and near-earth space processes.

J.K. Hargreaves in his book “The Upper Atmosphere and Solar-Terrestrial Relations” wrote:

“The source of weather change must be controlled by the geomagnetic field since it is that field that determines the localization of auroral zones”.

The solar-terrestrial relation chain is: Solar radiation – magnetosphere – ionosphere – Earth’s atmosphere.

Today, there is solid evidence of Sun’s effect on Earth’s climate in both pre- and post-industrial era.

Fig. 69. Temperature according to oxygen isotope analysis data
and magnetic field intensity according to deep sea drilling data

(J.W. King, private message, Wallis et al., 1974, in J.K. Hargreaves’ book, 1982)

J.K. Hargreaves in his study (1982) points out that there is a relationship between the intensity of the geomagnetic field and global temperature changes. In the zones with the greatest magnetic field intensity, air temperature and humidity tend to be low. The inverse correlation between the global temperature and magnetic field intensity, Fig.69, is also indicative of that.


Meanwhile, as mentioned above, the IPCC report names the sharply increased greenhouse gas content in Earth’s atmosphere as the main cause of global climate change. At the same time, it is known that volcanic eruptions emit a large amount of various gases, including greenhouse gases such as СО2, CO, SO2, H2S, CS2, OCS, and NO, into Earth’s atmosphere.

Carbon dioxide concentration varies from 1 to 10% of the total mass of volcanic gases, with 0.1-0.7% of CO (N. M. Gerlach, 1980).

Sulfur-containing gases of volcanic eruptions produce the most detrimental effect on global climate change. Those eruptions are accompanied by emission of sulfur dioxide SO2, hydrogen sulfide H2S, carbon disulfide CS2, carbonyl sulfide OCS and particles of solid sulfur into the atmosphere. As Cadle’s studies demonstrate, SO2 gas accounts for about 10% of all volcanic gas emissions and its annual emissions amount to 2 ∙ 107 t (R.D. Cadle, 1975). Analysis of volcanic gas emissions has shown that the principal sulfur-containing gas is SO2 (2-10 Mt per year). In general, the proportion of sulfur dioxide in volcanic gases is between 1 and 10% (M. L. Athaturov and others, 1986).

Of great interest is to analyze changes of СО2 content in Earth’s atmosphere in the geological past and compare that data with the volcanic activity level. The results of these studies are shown in Fig. 70 (M. L. Athaturov and others, 1986).

Fig. 70. Changes in carbon dioxide amount in atmosphere and
formation rate of volcanogenic rocks in Phanerozoic

(M.L. Athaturov and others, 1986)

As seen from Fig. 70, the concentration of carbon dioxide in the Phanerozoic Eon varied from 0.1 to 0.4%. In the diagram, volcanic activity is characterized by the rate of formation of volcanogenic rocks during the Phanerozoic Eon. The figure clearly shows that the Phanerozoic volcanic activity consists of pronounced cycles with periods of 80-100 million years.

The results of comparing the graphs shown in Fig. 70 indicate that СО2 concentration is directly dependent on volcanic activity. In our view, the clearly observed (Fig. 70) lag of СО2 content growth as compared to volcanogenic rocks’ formation rate is an interesting and important feature of this dependence. That is quite logical according to the cause-and-effect principle: the initial increase in the activity of volcanic eruptions is then followed by a higher СО2 concentration in the atmosphere, with a certain time lag between these processes. The larger the scale of the cyclicity period considered, the longer is the lag time.

Carbon dioxide is transparent for short-wave radiation but absorbs long-wave radiation of electromagnetic waves at several frequencies. As a result, it is a significant contributor to the greenhouse effect that increases the temperature of Earth’s lower atmosphere.

Fig. 71. Dependence of mean air temperature on carbon dioxide concentration
(M.I.Budyko, 1979)

When examining the relationship between the СО2 content in the atmosphere and average annual temperature variations, the logarithmic dependence shown in Fig. 71 is employed. M. I. Budyko investigated this relationship with empirical data based on studying the geological past. Budyko’s works show the existence of a direct link between volcanic eruptions and global climate change (M. I. Budyko, 1968 - 1984).

We have given a very brief overview of some major studies that demonstrate the presence of objective and reliable connection between volcanic activity and global climate change.

To determine the degree of possible impact of volcanic eruption cyclicity on global warming, V. E. Khain and E. N. Khalilov compared the graphs of Earth’s mean temperature change and of the average number of eruptions of magma volcanoes of Earth’s compression zones between 1850 and 2000, Fig. 72 (V. E. Khain, E. N. Khalilov, 2008).

Fig. 72. Comparison of graphs for
Earth’s mean temperature change and average
number of eruptions of igneous volcanoes of Earth’s
compression zones between 1850 and 2000
(by V.E. Khain and E.N. Khalilov, 2008).

1 – Graph for Earth’s temperature changes in Со
(graph’s forecasted part is supplemented by V.E. Khain and E.N. Khalilov, 2008)
2 – volcanic activity graph;
3 – straight lines limiting doubled cycles of volcanic activity and temperature changes;
4 – forecasted sections of graphs for mean temperature change and volcanic activity;
5 – straight lines connecting extreme points
of volcanic activity cycles and average annual temperature variations.

Comparing the graphs has revealed a high similarity in the nature of temporal changes of both the average annual temperature and volcanic activity. Both graphs can be conditionally divided into three phases (years): 1853 - 1915; 1916 - 1965; 1966 - 2000. Each phase is characterized by a surge in both the temperature and volcanic activity in 1915 and 1965. It is noteworthy that the first phase has three high activity cycles standing out on both graphs, with two cycles during the second phase and two (and possibly more) cycles during the third phase.

The most interesting fact is the lagging of the temperature rise cycles behind the increased volcanic activity cycles. This lagging is a result of the cause-and-effect relationship between the two processes. We noted this feature earlier when comparing graphs for volcanic activity and СО2 content in Earth’s atmosphere during the Phanerozoic Eon, Fig. 70.

Let us examine the mechanism of causality between volcanic activity and Earth’s temperature changes. A higher number of volcanic eruptions leads to an increased emission into the atmosphere of volcanic gases contributing to the enhanced greenhouse effect and ultimately results in a higher atmospheric temperature. The high similarity between the graphs of global temperature changes on our planet and of Earth’s volcanic activity has a rationale in terms of physical aspects. The almost doubled average annual number of volcanic eruptions ought to have caused doubling of the amount of gases released into the atmosphere during volcanic eruptions; first and foremost, this refers to СО2 which plays a leading role in creating the greenhouse effect and raising the average annual temperature on Earth.

Fig. 73. Change of СО2 and CH4 content in atmosphere and world’s
population growth between 1800 and 2000

Fig. 74. Volcanic activity trend

(From V.E.Khain and E.N.Khalilov’s work, 2008)

Fig. 73 shows the trends for changes in СО2 and СН4 content and for Earth’s population growth between 1800 and 2000, according to IPCC data. Fig. 74 provides a volcanic activity trend reflecting the general increase in the number of volcanic eruptions from 1850 to 2000. The comparison of those graphs reveals their high similarity.

In reality, the increased population growth and higher content of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere are not evidential of a connection between the two processes. As shown in previous sections, a similar increase has been observed for the same period in seismic and volcanic activity, as well as in the North Magnetic Pole’s drift acceleration, higher number of tsunamis, and in many other processes. Why, if there are such a large number of natural factors, does the IPCC focus its attention only on the relationship between the anthropogenic factor and global warming?

So, the main question to the proponents of anthropogenic global warming is as follows: How can you explain the existence of cycles in global temperature change? There is no scientific evidence that the anthropogenic factor has a similar cyclicity.

Fig. 75 provides a comparison of graphs of Earth’s global temperature change (1) and of volcanic activity (2) between 1900 and 2010. The similar pattern of change in both parameters is clearly seen from the graphs. The red lines connect corresponding cycles of higher values of global temperature changes and volcanic eruption numbers.

Fig. 75. Comparison of graphs for global temperature changes
and Earth’s volcanic activity
(by E.N.Khalilov, 2010)
1 – global changes of average annual temperature according to IPCC:
graph for variations of average annual temperature is marked blue;
trend of average annual temperature change is marked yellow;
2 – number of volcanic eruptions worldwide: annual numbers of volcanic eruptions are marked dark yellow;
trend of numbers of volcanic eruptions based on 7-year averages is marked blue;
red lines connect identical cycles with higher values of global temperature
and volcanic eruptions numbers on trends.

Fig. 76. Comparison of graphs (trends) for global temperature change and
Earth’s volcanic activity  (by E.N.Khalilov, 2010)

Global changes of average annual temperature according to IPCC data are marked yellow,

numbers of world’s volcanic eruptions are marked blue;
1-7 – cycles with higher values of global temperature and volcanic eruptions;
A, B, C – identified phases in global temperature change and volcanic activity.

We have used this report to refine and supplement with new supporting data the research carried out in the works of V.E.Khain and E.N.Khalilov (2008) on a possible connection between Earth’s volcanic activity and global temperature changes (E.N.Khalilov, 2010). The graphs shown in Fig. 76 demonstrate that the lag time of global temperature rise is 4-7 years on average as compared against the increased volcanic activity. That is, Earth’s global temperature rises during 4-7 years following the increase in volcanic activity. That means that 4-7 years are required for global temperature to grow as a result of the greenhouse effect caused by gases of volcanic origin. The higher concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere as a result of volcanic eruptions and other processes of degassing of the mantle leads to the enhanced greenhouse effect. It is important to determine the quantitative relation between the increase in the number of volcanic eruptions and global temperature changes.


Fig. 77. Graph for dependence of global temperature variations on
number of volcanic eruptions (by E.N. Khalilov, 2010)

Straight-line trend is marked in red

The straight-line trend in Fig.77 indicates the existence of a direct link between global temperature change and the number of volcanic eruptions.

The polynomial trend in Fig.78 allows us to conclude that global temperature change is most affected after the number of volcanic eruptions reaches 53.

Fig. 78. Graph for dependence of global temperature variations on
number of volcanic eruptions (by E.N. Khalilov, 2010)

Polynomial trend of second degree is marked red

The polynomial trend shows that the increase in the number of volcanic eruptions by 20 (from 53 to 72 eruptions) corresponds to the temperature change of 0,56 ⁰ C.


It should be borne in mind that the volcanic eruptions graph represents major eruptions documented by people and listed in catalogs. These eruptions can be considered indicators of Earth’s increasing endogenous activity. However, they do not reflect the full extent of volcanic activity which manifests itself very intensively within the mid-ocean ridges, accompanying the spreading processes.

A lot of underwater volcanic eruptions remain unnoticed by researchers and are not included in catalogs because they are hidden under the layers of oceanic water. It should be noted that degassing of the mantle in the mid-ocean ridges is a constant process. During the periods of Earth’s increased overall activity, degassing of the mantle in the mid-oceanic ridges significantly intensifies as well, saturating soil, water and the atmosphere with mantle gases. This is also indicated by many years’ researches of several authors (Sh.F.Mehdiyev, E.N.Khalilov, 1983, 1984; V.E.Khain, Sh.F.Mehdiyev, T.A.Ismail-Zade, E.N. Khalilov, 1986; V.E.Khain, E.N. Khalilov, 2008, 2009). Eruptions of rift zone volcanoes such as the eruption of the Icelandic Eyjafjallajokull volcano in March and April of 2010 serve as indicators of the increased activity of the ocean floor spreading processes.

Not only volcanoes but also earthquakes which activate many deep crustal faults to enable the mantle gases to break through to Earth’s surface and saturate the atmosphere can be a channel for deep greenhouse gases to penetrate Earth’s atmosphere.

Through deep faults located in oceanic and continental rift zones and subduction zones, as well as transform faults are perfect for channeling Earth’s deep gases into the atmosphere during the periods of increased geodynamic activity of our planet. This is evidenced by the results of numerous researches in the field of studying and forecasting earthquakes, based on the higher deep gas content level in the atmosphere, water and soil of open deep fault zones. A study by A.I.Kvartsov and A.I. Friedman states that “The composition and migration intensity of natural gases are conditioned mainly by the geotectonic regime. During seismic activity periods, there is a gas outflow from great depths, possibly from the mantle” (A.I.Kvartsov, A.I. Friedman, 1974). Following routine observations, L.M.Zorkin, S.L.Zuoayraev, E.V.Karus and others have established that the impact of seismic shocks leads not only to the increased concentration, but also to the altered composition of the hydrocarbon part of gases as well as the ratio between individual gas components (L.M.Zorkin et al, 1977).

The increase in the natural gas concentration around deep faults before and after large earthquakes is a proven geological fact corroborated by studies of many world scientists.

Earthquakes and volcanic eruptions are indicators of increased geodynamic activity. But the real scale of degassing of the mantle is significantly higher than estimated gas emissions into the atmosphere during the periods of documented eruptions of large volcanoes.

One of the most important questions the concept of “anthropogenic origin of global warming” is unable to answer is why there is a cyclicity observed in global temperature anomalies and represented by periodic significant global temperature drops. This cyclicity is not observed in anthropogenic activity. However, similar cycles can be seen in volcanic and seismic activity changes and some other geological and geophysical parameters as well.

V. Barsukov in his work points out that there is a two or threefold increase of hydrogen and carbon dioxide (СО2) ion content in groundwater 1-2 months prior to an earthquake (V. Barsukov, 1976).

The research we are carrying out proves that the endogenous processes on our planet have greatly intensified in the past two decades.  This is evidenced by the nature of changes in seismic and volcanic activity, the geomagnetic poles’ rate of motion, global temperature changes in Earth’s atmosphere and the content of endogenous gases therein, global sea level changes, etc.


The ultimate goal of any research is to acquire objective knowledge of the subject being studied. Opinions of different scientists on the problem of global climate change may vary, but in order to get a correct answer to questions arising, one has to consider and analyze all existing views. Only after a generalized analysis of arguments of all parties involved, it will be possible to determine the degree of both the anthropogenic and natural factors’ impact on Earth’s climate. To do that, researchers having different opinions must be equally provided with a platform to speak out.

In recent years, many researchers have come up with scientific justification of the fact that it is incorrect to call global climate change global warming. The average annual temperature variations are cyclical in nature, with the natural factor playing a big role in those processes. Presently, the average annual temperature growth rate has declined substantially as evidenced by NASA and Hadley data given in D. Sc. Jarl R. Ahlbeck’s study (Abo Akademi University, Finland 08.10.2008,

Fig. 79 contains a graph showing changes in Earth’s surface temperature between 1995 and 2009, according to Hadley data (D. Sc. Jarl R. Ahlbeck, 2008). It is clearly seen from the graph that over the last 15 years, the global temperature on Earth’s surface has not increased, but rather has dropped to some extent. A similar pattern is observed for temperature changes in the troposphere. Fig. 80 indicates some decline in the overall tropospheric temperature trend during the period reviewed. Thus, it becomes evident that temperature may fluctuate within certain limits, regardless of the anthropogenic factor, due to natural processes on Earth and within the solar system.

Fig. 79. Temperature change on Earth’s surface

From D. Sc. Jarl R. Ahlbeck’s article (Abo Akademi University, Finland 08.10.2008,


Fig. 80. Temperature change in troposphere

From D. Sc.
Jarl R. Ahlbeck’s article (Abo Akademi University, Finland 08.10.2008

IPCC reports have repeatedly suggested a direct link between storms, hurricanes, tornadoes and global warming. Now it is important to find out to what extent this view is consistent with scientific facts. Fig. 81 compares global temperature changes and named North Atlantic storm frequency from 1920 to 2007. There are three pronounced cycles designated as A, B and C in the diagram. However, the temperature rise cycles and storm numbers cycles are in antiphase. It could be assumed that there is an inverse relationship between these two processes. But then, how can one explain the fact of simultaneous increase in global temperatures and storm numbers since 1990? In this case, we have a direct rather than inverse relationship. Thus, we see no direct correlation between these two processes in the diagram.

Fig. 81. Comparison of graphs for global temperature variations and
named North Atlantic storms (by E.N.Khalilov, 2010)

1 – graph for global temperature variations according to IPCC data;
2 – graph for numbers of named tropical storms in North Atlantic Basin
Pew Center on Global Climate Change

We have conducted a similar analysis for tornadoes. Fig.82  compares the graphs for changes in global temperatures and numbers of US tornadoes from 1920 to 2005. Comparison of global temperature with the US tornado number graph shows that there is no correlation between these two processes. Meanwhile, a lot of scientists have come to this conclusion much earlier.

For instance, Antony Watts in his report points to the absence of any scientifically valid relationship between global warming and the number of tornadoes and storms (Antony Watts, 2009,

Fig. 82. Comparison of graphs for global temperature changes and US tornadoes.

As pointed out by Sterling Burnett H., (1997), the majority of world scientists disagree with the notion that global climate change is of anthropogenic nature. This is also evidenced by the analysis of a scientists and public opinion survey, provided in the following article ( and

A detailed analysis of the possible effect of the anthropogenic and natural factors on global climate warming is given in a work by Arthur B. Robinson, Noan E. Robinson and Andwillie Soon (2007). The results of those studies incline the reader to the view that the natural factor’s impact on climate change prevails over that of the anthropogenic factor.

Comparing the Arctic surface air temperature with the solar constant from 1880 to 2005 in Fig.83 reveals a high correlation between these two processes. At the same time, these graphs show no correlation with the graphs for utilization of various types of hydrocarbons.

Fig. 83. Comparison of Arctic surface air temperature and solar activity (solar constant)

(Arthur B. Robinson, Noan E. Robinson and Andwillie Soon, 2007)

We did not aim to provide in this report a detailed analysis of most of alternative studies on the problem of “global warming”. We have shown some important aspects of alternative views. This problem is to be comprehensively reviewed and discussed in the next IC GCGE “GEOCHANGE” reports.


- The role of Earth’s volcanic activity in global climate change is significantly higher than assumed.

- Increased degassing of the mantle during the periods of intensification of Earth’s endogenous activity can be one of the main factors causing global temperature changes. This process occurs as a result of the following: growing number of volcanic eruptions; increased seismic activity and higher rate of gases entering the atmosphere through deep faults in the crust; deep gases penetrating into the world ocean and subsequently the atmosphere as a result of intensification of the spreading processes. All this ought to result in higher amount of greenhouse gases released from the mantle into the atmosphere. For instance, the volcanic activity index from 1850 to the present day has grown by 80-85% as compared to the background value. Therefore, it is logical to assume that the amount of volcanic gases emitted during volcanic eruptions has increased during this period by 80-85% as well.

- An important role in climate change is attributed to global changes in the parameters of the geomagnetic pole and magnetosphere; this refers in particular to the more than 500% increase in the north magnetic field’s drift rate and reduction of the geomagnetic field intensity. Today, the impact of magnetospheric processes on Earth’s climate is considered a proven scientific fact.

- Global climate change is also affected by solar activity, solar constant variations (flux of solar radiation) in particular, which is also a proven scientific fact.

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