More than eight months after the underwater volcano near Tonga erupted on Jan. 14, scientists are still analyzing the impacts of the violent blast, and they're discovering that it could warm the planet.
Recently, researchers calculated that the eruption of Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha'apa spewed a staggering 50 million tons (45 million metric tons) of water vapor into the atmosphere, in addition to enormous quantities of ash and volcanic gases.
This massive vapor injection increased the amount of moisture in the global stratosphere by about 5 percent, and could trigger a cycle of stratospheric cooling and surface heating – and these effects may persist for months to come, according to a new study.
Tonga's eruption, which began on Jan. 13 and peaked two days later, was the most powerful witnessed on Earth in decades. The blast extended for 162 miles and sent pillars of ash, steam, and gas soaring more than 12 miles into the air, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
Had it occurred above ground rather than under water, the effects would have been devastating to the area, and would have been heard around the world. That is one big motherfuckin' volcano, brutha. Juss' sayin'...