“We’ve never seen anything like it before!”

When a volcano erupts, lava flows and smoke plumes. But when said volcano is an undersea volcano, water vapor can also fall into the atmosphere. And in the case of the Hangunga Tonga Hapai volcano, which erupted last January, huge amounts of water vapor were.

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[EN VIDÉO] Volcanic eruption in the Tonga Islands
The eruption of the Hongga Tonga-Hung Ha Abai volcano resulted in extremely violent eruptions and columns of ash 20 to 30 kilometers in height.

Last January, a underwater volcano With an extended name – baptized Hong Tonga – Hong Hapai – it erupted in the Pacific Ocean. This was followed by a tsunami affecting nearly 90,000 people in the Tonga Islands. The sound of this powerful explosion flew around a land ! and today, looking for Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL, USA) tells us that jitter volcano I also expected an extremely huge amount of water vapor in melodies. Enough to fill nearly 60,000 Olympic swimming pools!

‘We’ve never seen anything like it before’Lewis Millan, a researcher at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, commented in a communication. According to his numbers, it is not less than 146 teragrams, or 146 billion kilograms From the water vapor sent by the Hong Tonga volcano directly to stratosphere And – and even a little higher – the layer of the atmosphere that lies between 15 and 50 kilometers above the surface of the Earth. This is nearly four times what was taken out by the eruption of Mount Pinatubo (Philippines) in 1991. And at least 10% of the total amount of water vapor already present at this level of the atmosphere.

This is more than cool because it’s still a rarity volcanic eruptions water vapor injection in stratosphere. Almost 20 years ago NASA Take readings. It only happened two more times. During the Kasatochi event (Alaska) in 2008 and during the eruption of Calbuco (Chile) in 2015. Moreover, in proportions that are very far from being comparable. The excess water vapor quickly dissipated. This time, it can last for up to ten years.

The consequences of life on Earth?

Researchers attribute this phenomenon to a kind of situation “ideal” subordinate volcanic crater From the volcano about 150 meters. deeper and the pressure from the ocean Eases blast. shallow and there was less hot water for steam formation.

The problem is that there is Water vapor The atmosphere is not as neutral and innocent as it might seem at first glance. Because in the stratosphere, water vapor tends to produce carrier roots Electrons “singles”. What makes it high reagents. They tend to destroyozone. But it is stratospheric ozone that protects life from radiation ultraviolet who comes to us from Sun.

Water vapor also plays a somewhat direct role inGlobal Warming. It is even a fairly effective greenhouse gas. Because it can absorb radiation Infrared emitted from our earth over a wide range of frequencies. Thus, the Hong Tonga eruption and the massive injection of water vapor that followed should have had an effect at least once – potentially for several years the same, once carbon dioxide matchsticks Refreshing dissipated – at average temperatures. Raise them a little more. Regarding the possible significant long-term effect on Global Warming Humans, scientists are still divided at present.

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