Tonga Volcano Eruption Releases Enough Water to Fill 58,000 Olympic Swimming Pools, NASA Experts Say

volcano occurred on Jan. 15, 2022

An umbrella cloud generated by the underwater eruption of the Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha’apai volcano on Jan. 15, 2022. (NOAA Image)

(FOX NEWS) – The violent eruption of Tonga’s Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha’apai volcano on Jan. 15, 2022, injected an unprecedented amount of water directly into the stratosphere – enough to fill more than 58,000 Olympic-size swimming pools.

“We’ve never seen anything like it,” said Luis Millán, an atmospheric scientist who works at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

When the volcano erupted, seawater came into direct contact with erupting lava and was superheated, creating “explosive steam.”

NASA scientists say that the vapor will stay for years, likely affecting the Earth’s global average temperature. Normally the vapor takes around 2-3 years to dissipate, but the water from the Jan. 15 eruption could take 5-10 years to evaporate.

Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha’apai “may be the first volcanic eruption observed to impact climate not through surface cooling caused by volcanic sulfate aerosols, but rather through surface warming,” Millán hypothesized in a paper.

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