Early data from Tonga’s violent volcanic eruption suggests it is the biggest since Mount Pinatubo in the Philippines 30 years ago, volcanologists are saying /https://www.rnz.co.nz/news/world/459657/tonga-eruption-likely-the-world-s-largest-in-30-years-scientist/. Data suggested the eruption could measure as high as 5 on the volcanic explosivity index (VEI) /https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/tongan-volcano-eruption-likely-the-worlds-largest-in-30-years-scientist/4J57DACGGVUGLCLNYUGMQHH2ZQ//.
On 14. January 2022, a very large eruption of Hunga Tonga–Hunga Haʻapai, in the South Pacific Ocean, began.
Hunga Tonga is 65 km north of Tongatapu, the microstate´s main island.
The eruption caused tsunamis in Tonga, Fiji, American Samoa, Vanuatu, and along the Pacific coast in New Zealand, Japan, the United States, the Russian Far East, Chile, and Peru.
Several people remain missing in Fiji, 2 people were drowned in Peru, 3 injured near 2-meter waves in the US Pacific, and 1 injured in Japan were reported near tsunami.
1 dead in Tonga is reported, so far, but extensive damages were observed by exploratory flights in the last days.
The event is likely the largest volcanic eruption of the 21st century and very probably the stronger volcanic eruption since legendary Mt. Pinatubo, the Philippines, in 1991.
Another warning was issued to the whole of Tonga on the evening, 15. January 2022 following the next eruption.
In 17. January 2022, The Department of Environment in Fiji confirmed the sulphur dioxide concentration in the atmosphere. The department urged the public to cover all household water tanks and stay indoors in the event of acid rain.
According to a New Zealand government official, in the capital of Tonga, Nukuʻalofa, extensive damage occurred along the coast of the city, hit by the tsunami.
Southern Cross Cable reported that the eruption may have broken the Tonga Cable System, connecting Tonga to Southern Cross’s trans-Pacific cable in Fiji.
On 17. January 2022, officials in Tonga on social site wrote “Tonga needs immediate assistance to provide its citizens with fresh drinking water and food.” The International Red Cross, Red Crescent Movement, and the Pacific Island Forum are prepared for assistance.
Air pressure shockwave appeared after both main eruptions around the globe, with short-term changes of air pressure from 7 hPa in Norfolk Island, Australia, to 2-3 hPa in many European countries.
The effect of the largest volcanic eruption in the world in the last 30 years should have a significant impact on the global cooling effect in the next months.
The estimated VEI5 strength of an eruption should cause cooling of Earth in several decimals of degree Celsius – eruption was high as almost 100 000 feet (98 425) / 30 km and particles have already injected a stratosphere.
Illustration picture: Sources – dyw.be Twitter, JMA Japan, Bureau of Meteorology Australia