Here are six things the HungaTonga volcanic eruption did to the atmosphere:
Here's what the recent Hunga Tonga volcano eruption did to the atmosphere around the world. - Articles from The Weather Channel | weather.com
Volcanologists and meteorologists alike watched in awe as the Hunga Tonga-Hunga Haʻapai volcano erupted near the South Pacific country of Tonga last week.1. The Ash Plume Reached the MesosphereThe top of the plume was a relatively narrow column of volcanic material, likely located directly over the volcano. This feature, which somewhat resembles the top of a smashed witch's hat, is called an overshooting top in meteorology.
.(Nesdis/NOAA)(MORE:When something this intrusive enters three different layers of the atmosphere, you can be sure there will be ripples around the world.In the U.S., this shockwave first moved eastward from the Southwest toward the Northeast on Jan. 15. Then, the wave that was emitted westward from Tonga reached the eastern U.S. during the early-morning hours of Jan. 16.Read more: The Weather Channel »
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The Hunga Tonga volcano spread a shock wave around the world several times. The blast caused some clouds to form and others to dissipate. The eruptive plume pushed through three different layers of the atmosphere. Volcanologists and meteorologists alike watched in awe as the Hunga Tonga-Hunga Haʻapai volcano erupted near the South Pacific country of Tonga last week. The once-in-a-lifetime eruption was devastating for Tonga and spread a tsunami to the United States' Pacific coast, Japan and Peru, but scientists were also able to admire the power of this eruption unlike ever before. Here are a few ways that meteorologists were able to watch this eruption through the lens of the atmosphere: 1. The Ash Plume Reached the Mesosphere The eruption's initial blast caused the plume of ash and vapor to climb some 55 kilometers, or more than 34 miles, high into the atmosphere. Typically, air stops rising far below 60,000 feet, where air temperatures begin to warm and air loses its buoyancy. In this case, the upward force of the explosion combined with the heat of the plume allowed the vapor to rise to 180,000 feet. The top of the plume was a relatively narrow column of volcanic material, likely located directly over the volcano. This feature, which somewhat resembles the top of a smashed witch's hat, is called an overshooting top in meteorology. Below this overshooting top was a very wide canopy of clouds in the stratosphere, denoted by the umbrella marker in the tweet above . And still below this, in the typical weather portion of the Earth's atmosphere, a more milky vapor plume is shown in the troposphere. Layers of the Atmosphere (Nesdis/NOAA) This enormous plume cloud was very similar to the structure of a thunderstorm – on steroids. A severe thunderstorm's overshooting top can tower over 60,000 feet, a mere 120,000 feet shorter than the volcanic plume. (MORE: ) 2. Pressure Wave Circled the Globe Several Times When something this intrusive enters three different layers of the atmosphere, you can be sure there will be ripples around the world. Meteorologists and weather enthusiasts alike watched their local and home weather stations for several days earlier this week as pressure readings from their barometers jumped up and down by a couple of millibars at least three times. The shockwave was emitted from the South Pacific in circular rings immediately after the eruption. In the U.S., this shockwave first moved eastward from the Southwest toward the Northeast on Jan. 15. Then, the wave that was emitted westward from Tonga reached the eastern U.S. during the early-morning hours of Jan. 16. The westward-propagating portion of the pressure wave reached the U.S., circumnavigating the globe at nearly 700 mph, that following night. Initial waves traveled faster than the speed of sound, which caused sonic booms heard as far away as Alaska, nearly 6,000 miles away . This sort of pressure wave is not unprecedented. Krakatoa's 1883 mega eruption caused a pressure wave to , passing over some barometers as many as seven times. 3. Temperature Ripples Crossed the Pacific With the pressure wave crossing the Pacific Ocean, temperature fluctuations were also measured by the thermal infrared sounder onboard the Metop satellite in the upper troposphere or lower stratosphere. , the satellite measured these changes on Jan. 15, with temporary warming sensed likely as the wave descended into the atmosphere and causing the air to warm by compression. Advertisement Waves of blue are seen where the air was pushed upward and cooled by expansion. These temperature changes were not widespread and were not measured at any land-based site. 4. Extreme Lightning Discharge Lightning is a common sight with volcanic eruptions, but Hunga Tonga put on one amazing show when it erupted. The plume produced nearly