Daily Archives: February 21, 2022
How did the Tonga eruption affect the atmosphere?
Hunga Tonga erupted on Jan. 15 and lasted 11 hours.
It devastated the region, covering the land in a layer of ash. The eruption blasted a plume of ash and water vapor 34 miles into the atmosphere — into the mesosphere.
The Hunga Tonga plume contained only a very small amount of sulfur dioxide (SO2). Sulfur dioxide from volcanic mega-eruptions that reach high in the atmosphere can have an impact on global temperature. The mega-eruption of Pinatubo in 1991 released enough sulfur dioxide to cool the Earth’s surface for three years. The Tonga eruption will not have that kind of impact. Continue reading