Here’s What Scientists Know About the Tonga Volcano Eruption

Scientists are trying to better understand the global effects of the volcanic eruption that smothered the Pacific island nation of Tonga with ash and swamped it with water.

The answer to the question of whether the explosion of the Hunga volcano will have a cooling effect on the global climate is already known.

There may be short-term effects on weather in parts of the world, and possibly minor disruptions in radio transmissions, in the aftermath of the event.

Scientists will be studying the event for many years, because of the shock wave produced by the explosion. In the Atlantic, Caribbean and Mediterranean, there were also earthquakes.

The professor of geophysics at the university said that they were aware of volcanic explosions. It is truly unprecedented to see it with the modern array of instruments.

The eruption of the underwater volcano, which is formally known as Hunga Tonga-Hunga-Haapai, rained hazardous ash over the region. The capital experienced a four-foot wave.

The eruption was called an "unprecedented disaster" by the government, but the full extent of the damage has not been determined because of the ash and severed telecommunications cables.

The enormity of the explosion was obvious beyond Tonga. Satellite photos showed a cloud of dirt, rock, volcanic gases and water vapor several hundred miles in diameter, and a narrower cloud of gas and debris flew nearly 20 miles into the atmosphere.

Mount Pinatubo is on the island of Luzon in the Philippines.

The most recent huge eruption of Mount Pinatubo in the Philippines was compared to the catastrophic explosion of Krakatau in Indonesia in 1884.

When Pinatubo erupted, it sent 20 million tons of sulfur dioxide gas into the upper atmosphere, which created aerosol particles that reflected and scattered the sun's rays.

The effect of that cooling the atmosphere was for several years. It is the mechanism of a controversial form ofgeoengineering, in which planes or other means are used to continuously inject sulfur dioxide into the stratosphere to intentionally cool the planet.

The power of Pinatubo was matched by the Hunga eruption, according to a volcanologist who has studied earlier eruptions at the volcano.

The eruption of Hunga lasted about 10 minutes, and satellite sensors in the days that followed measured about 400,000 tons of sulfur dioxide reaching the stratosphere. Michael Manga, an earth sciences professor at the University of California, Berkeley, said that the amount of SO2 released is much smaller than Mount Pinatubo.

Unless the Hunga eruption continues at a strong level, it won't have a global cooling effect.

The location of the eruption was a factor in its power. The water instantly flashed into steam, expanding the explosion many times over. The water pressure would have made the explosion less powerful.

He said that the shallow depth created perfect conditions for the explosion.

Corwin Wright, an atmospheric physicist at the University of Bath in England, said that the blast produced a shock wave in the atmosphere that was one of the most extraordinary ever detected. Satellite readings show that the wave reached as high as 60 miles up and traveled around the world at over 600 miles an hour.

The eruption of the Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha'apai can be seen in an image from a weather satellite.

The data we have been using for 20 years has never seen a wave like this. We have never seen anything like this before, and certainly not from a volcano.

The wave was created when the air was displaced high into the atmosphere by the blast. But then it was pulled down by gravity. It rose up again, and this up-down oscillation continued, creating a wave of alternating high and low pressure that moved out from the blast source.

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The wave may have a short-term effect on weather patterns closer to the surface, possibly by affecting the jet stream, according to Dr. Wright.

He said they don't know. We are looking to see what happens over the next few days. It could just not interact with each other.

Dr. Wright said that because the wave was so high, it could have a slight effect on radio transmissions and signals from global positioning systems satellites.

The atmospheric pressure wave may have played a role in the unusual tsunamis.

The movement of rock and soil causes the rapid displacement of water. Large underwater faults can cause earthquakes.

There are volcanoes that can cause earthquakes. The collapse of the volcano's crater may have caused the displacement. One flank of the volcano may have become unstable and collapsed.

Scientists said that the local wave that hit Tonga was the only factor that would account for it. Ordinarily, said Gerard Fryer, an associate researcher at the University of Hawaii at Manoa who used to work at the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center. The energy would decay away with distance.

The event generated small waves in other basins around the world, but it was 888-282-0465 888-282-0465 888-282-0465, and it was the same size as the local one.

The ocean may have been affected by the pressure wave as it traveled through the atmosphere.

It will take weeks or months of analyzing data to determine if that is what happened.

Dr. Dengler said that the atmosphere and the ocean are connected. There is a wave in the Atlantic Ocean. It did not go around the tip of South America to get there.

The evidence shows that the pressure wave played a role. How big a part is the question.