One of the most powerful volcanic eruptions on the planet blasted enough water into the atmosphere to fill 58,000 Olympic-sized swimming pools. According to detections from a NASA satellite, the water vapor is likely to temporarily warm the Earth’s surface.
The undersea Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha’apai volcano erupted on January 15, 40 miles north of Tonga’s capital. The eruption created a tsunami and a sonic boom that rippled around the world twice. A tall plume of water vapor was sent into the stratosphere, which is located between 8 and 33 miles above the Earth’s surface.
The detection was made by the Microwave Limb Sounder instrument on NASA’s Aura satellite. The satellite monitors water vapor, ozone and other atmospheric gases. The estimate is that the eruption put 146 tera-gram or a trillion grams into the stratosphere.
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