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NEW Fox News articles can now be heard on audio! On January 15, 2022, Tonga’s Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha’apai volcano erupted violently, spewing water directly into the stratosphere in quantities equivalent to more than 58,000 Olympic-size swimming pools.
Luis Milln, an atmospheric scientist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory , declared, “We’ve never seen anything like it.”
Seawater was in in contact with erupting lava as the volcano erupted, becoming superheated and producing “explosive steam.”
an umbrella cloud produced on January 15, 2022, by the underwater eruption of the Hunga Tonga-Hunga Haapai volcano. Joshua Stevens created this NASA Earth Observatory image using GOES data provided by NOAA and NESDIS.
According to NASA scientists, the vapor will remain for years and probably have an impact on the Earth’s average global temperature. The water from the eruption on January 15 may take 5–10 years to evaporate, as opposed to the typical 2-3 years for vapor to dissipate.
Tonga-Hunga Haapai Hunga Tonga In a publication, Milln proposed that this “may be the first volcanic eruption observed to influence climate not through surface cooling induced by volcanic sulfate aerosols, but rather through surface warming.”
The stratosphere, which is the layer of the atmosphere between between 8 and 33 miles (12 and 53 kilometers) above Earth’s surface, was the focus of a study led by Milln that looked at how much water vapor the volcano injected there.
According to Milln and his coworkers, the Tonga volcano released about 146 tetragrams—one tetragram is equal to one trillion grams—of water vapor into the stratosphere. 10% of the water already present in the atmospheric layer is represented by the water that has been launched into the stratosphere. Their study was printed in Geophysical Research Letters. .
A volcano with a diameter of more than 12 kilometres caused the eruption. Tongan officials posted on Facebook the day before the large eruption that the volcano was continuously erupting. They stated in the post that the volcano was emitting a 3 mile wide column plume of gas, ash, and steam that was ascending 35 miles into the atmosphere.
The ozone layer, which shields life on Earth from harmful solar radiation, may become less robust as a result of the water vapor, according to the study.
The precise climatic implications of the Tonga eruption cannot yet be predicted, according to the study’s authors. To more accurately estimate the many functions that volcanic gases play in the climate, Milln stated, “it is crucial to continue monitoring volcanic gases from this eruption and future ones.”
Fox News Digital Production Assistant Sarah Rumpf. Her Twitter account is @rumpfsarahc.