Experts at the European Science Foundation concluded in a new report that large volcanic eruptions posed the greatest risk to humans and our survival. In the new report, experts said there is a five to 10 percent probability that a volcanic eruption will cause a massive death toll while poisoning our atmosphere.
In 1815, Tambora on Sumbawa, Indonesia killed about 100,000 people. The ash cloud reached 26 miles into the atmosphere and caused what was known as "the year without summer," according to the Daily Mail. The scientists at the European Science Foundation are warning the world about the potential for an eruption at least that large.
In the report titled, "Extreme Geohazards: Reducing the Disaster Risk and Increasing Resilience," the experts call for preparedness on an international level. The cost for being ready for such a disaster is estimated to be "between £340 million ($500 million) and £2.3 billion ($3.5 billion) a year," according to Daily Mail.
Report authors wrote: "Although in the last few decades earthquakes have been the main cause of fatalities and damage, the main global risk is large volcanic eruptions that are less frequent but far more impactful than the largest earthquakes. Due to their far-reaching effects on climate, food security, transportation, and supply chains, these events have the potential to trigger global disaster and catastrophe. The cost of response and the ability to respond to these events is beyond the financial and political capabilities of any individual country. An international geopolitical response will be required, where science has a unique and key role in preparation, response and mitigation."
The report was presented on Tuesday at the general assembly of the European Geosciences Union in Vienna. The discussion included talks about earthquakes, drought, asteroid strikes, floods, tsunamis, hurricanes, avalanches and wildfires.
But volcanic eruptions were the real concern of the experts.
The scientists wrote: "Why are we not prepared for extreme events? Reasons for this include the low perceived likelihood of such an event, low political sensitivity, and a disconnect between scientific communities and decision-makers. Reasons for the lack of socially acceptable strategies include the cost of preparing for an extreme hazard, and, in some cases, the belief that consequences are so extreme that preparedness is futile."