NEW ZEALAND: The Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha’apai volcano erupted on January 15 and sent shockwaves around the world. The images astounded earth specialists. The amount of water vapour released into the atmosphere by the eruption is now known to be a record-breaking 58,000 swimming pools, according to scientists.
The stratosphere is a region of the atmosphere above where large commercial jets travel, and this is where the water got. Between eight and 33 miles above the Earth’s surface is where you’ll find the stratosphere.
We’ve never seen something like that, said Luis Millán, an atmospheric scientist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory who directed the new research.
Millán and his team used measurements from NASA’s Aura satellite, a device that analyses gases in Earth’s atmosphere, to confirm the unheard-of water injection into the atmosphere.
The amount of water released during a single eruption will only have a small, temporary effect on global temperature. This is because water vapour is a greenhouse gas, trapping heat on the planet, just like carbon dioxide whose concentration is currently surging in the Earth’s atmosphere.
According to NASA, the effects of climate change won’t be dramatically amplified by this water vapour influence. Nowadays climate change is more dependent on human activities and not on such natural phenomena.
Where did this abundance of water come from, which was roughly four times as much as the massive Mount Pinatubo eruption of 1991 threw into the stratosphere? It occurs in an underwater crater because Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha’apai is a submarine volcano. Since it is almost 500 feet below the surface, the eruption can release a tremendous water explosion into the sky.
According to NASA, the massive amount of seawater would have “muffled” this extremely explosive explosion if it had occurred at a deeper depth. But everything lined up just exactly, producing a blast that continues to astound scientists.