Tonga’s volcanic eruption caused a Pacific Ocean tsunami. Climate change will make both phenomena worse.

The Hunga Tonga — Hunga Ha’apai volcano erupted on 15 January 2022. Photo: Tonga Geological Services
Map of the tropical Pacific showing the positions of NOAA’s DART buoys and saildrone 1065 and 1066 (DART and saildrones are data sensors) relative to the Hunga Ha’apai Volcano located in the Pacific island nation of Tonga. Source: NOAA
Several Earth-observing satellites collected data during and after the potent blast spurred a tsunami and lofted volcanic material high into the stratosphere. Source: NASA

So why was the eruption so powerful, and what does it have to do with climate change?

This Ash RGB imagery above shows the eruption in a different way, using infrared channels to detect volcanic ash and sulfur dioxide gas. Source: NOAA

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