50 million tons of water vapor from Tonga’s eruption could warm Earth for years

More than eight months after the underwater volcano erupted near Tonga on January 14, scientists are still analyzing the effects of the massive blast and discovering it could warm the planet.

Recently, researchers calculated that the eruption of Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha’apa ejected a staggering 50 million metric tons (45 million metric tons) of water vapor into the atmosphere, along with massive amounts of ash and volcanic gases. That massive steam injection increased the amount of moisture in the global stratosphere by about 5% and could trigger a cycle of stratospheric cooling and surface warming — and those effects could continue for months, according to a new study.

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