Volcanic eruption in Tonga will contribute to global cooling
When the underwater volcano in the island nation of Tonga in the South Sea had its explosion-like eruption on January 15, 2022, a massive pressure wave, more powerful than the largest atomic bomb, spread through both the Earth's oceans and atmosphere. The catastrophic event created a record-high ash and gas cloud that continues to spread over the earth.
Published: January 5, 2023, 8:11 am
Much worse is that it has dramatically reduced solar radiation over large parts of the earth and caused the temperature in the atmosphere to drop drastically, which affects agriculture in the southern hemisphere. A selection of available new data reveal that the authorities tried to hide the extent of the disaster. There is a historical connection that is relevant too.
HUNGA TONGA – HUNGA HA’APAI – Background info
On December 20, 2021, the underwater volcano Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha’apai, the name of the twin islands where it is located, began spewing ash into the South Pacific. Four weeks later, on January 15, 2022, the eruption reached a gigantic and powerful climax that generated a very loud supersonic boom. It was heard all over the Polynesian archipelago and as far as Alaska, 1 000 miles away. The eruption was more than 4 000 times more powerful than the 15 kiloton atomic bomb the US dropped on Hiroshima and the most powerful since at least the 1883 eruption of the Krakatoa volcano in Indonesia, which triggered a global volcanic winter.
Researchers at the British University of Sheffield released a study (Díaz et al.) on August 9th that demonstrates that the Tonga eruption corresponded to an earthquake with a magnitude of 8,4 on the Richter scale or around 61 megatons of TNT/TNT. As a comparison, the largest atomic bomb ever tested, the Soviet Tsar bomba, had an explosive power of 50-58 megatons.
“We’ve never seen anything like it,” said Luis Millán, NASA/JPL Atmospheric Aerosol Science Scientist, on the huge gas cloud.
Initially, the worst was feared for the island nation of Tonga and its around 110,000 inhabitants, when all communication with the outside world was cut off after an internet cable on the seabed was destroyed. The main island is located 65 kilometers from the underwater volcano, but the feared giant tsunami did not occur, although it caused damage in the island nation where many buildings were destroyed, at least six people were killed and several are still missing today. The tsunami did not have a high wave, but it was still powerful enough to reach with large waves of low amplitude (wave height) the coasts of everything from Russia and Japan in the north to the United States in the northeast and South America in the east, where coastal areas were flooded in several places. For example, streets were flooded in Peruvian coastal cities, where two beachgoers also drowned by a two-meter wave that is believed to have been created due to special bottom conditions there.
Mainstream media reported on the outbreak with a focus on the island nation of Tonga and when contact was finally established, the focus ended up on details such as aid work being hindered by Corona restrictions, as Tonga was claimed to have just had its first known Corona case. The talked-about high tsunami wave never came and “the ash cloud was not that special even though it initially looked spectacular”, was the anticlimactic picture that was painted in many. In just a few days, the volcanic eruption almost completely disappeared from mainstream media reporting. However, it would later turn out that the disparaging information was not true at all.
57 kilometer high plume
In January and February, Swedish weekly Nya Tider had contact with well-initiated sources who, already in the first weeks after the eruption, claimed that what happened was much worse than it was portrayed and that it would have serious consequences for not only the southern hemisphere, but the entire earth’s climate. They went so far as to say that it was deliberately blacked out by the establishment and its media and that “scientists felt pressure not to be alarmist”. But since they wanted to remain anonymous and could not present concrete data, we then chose not to report on it.
Now, however, much of what our sources said earlier this year has come to light as a number of system media articles suddenly appeared at the beginning of November. Dozens of major mainstream media outlets suddenly went out with the information at the same time. For example, the British Daily Mail had an article on November 3 with the headline “Tonga’s underwater volcanic eruption produced the highest plume ever documented, reaching a height of 187 000 feet [57 kilometers], study reveals”.
The study in question was published the same day in the American scientific magazine Science and was carried out by researchers at the UK’s Oxford University and RAL Space, who used three geostationary weather satellites to precisely measure the height of the enormous plume. The Rutherford Appleton Laboratory (RAL) is one of the most important English public research institutes working in particle physics, space science, astronomy, computer science, biology, medicine and chemistry. RAL was founded in 1957 and is affiliated with the British authority Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC). RAL Space focuses on everything related to space, from 60 years of participation in several space programs to analyzes of measurement results from satellites.
“For me, what was impressive is how fast the outbreak was. It went from nothing to a 57 kilometer high cloud in just 30 minutes. I can’t imagine what it must have been like to see from the ground,” said the study’s lead author Simon Proud in the Daily Mail.
The Tonga eruption thus beat the record holder Pinatubo, a very active stratovolcano in the Philippines, which when it erupted in 1991 caused a plume that was 40 kilometers high. Research manager Proud says that they used a new way to measure the height more precisely called the parallax method, which is only “possible now that we have good satellite coverage”. He further explains that “it would not have been possible a decade ago”.
New measuring technology provides precise results
Previously, the temperature at the top of the plume was measured using infrared sensors on satellites and then compared the results with known standard temperatures at different heights. This can be done because previous ash and gas clouds have only extended into the troposphere, the first layer of the atmosphere, where temperature decreases with height. But the gas cloud from Hunga Tonga went all the way up into the third layer of the atmosphere, the mesosphere. Because the ozone layer absorbs ultraviolet radiation, the temperature in the stratosphere and mesosphere, the second and third layers, increases with altitude. So opposite to the troposphere, the atmospheric layer below.
To be able to measure the height of the gas cloud, Proud’s team developed another technique that uses the “parallax effect”, i.e. the distance difference to an object seen along at least two different lines of sight. It makes it possible to calculate the distance between the observers and the object. This measurement technique is not new in itself, but has not been used to measure the height of ash and gas clouds before. It was made possible by the fact that the location of the Tonga volcano is covered by three weather satellites, all at an altitude of just under 36 000 kilometers.
These are American GOES-17, Japanese Himawari-8 and South Korean GeokompSat-2A. Images taken by these satellites, with a known position, were then used to measure the height of the plume. In addition, they recorded images every ten minutes, which means the researchers were able to document changes in the cloud’s height, spread and trajectory.
Overall, this means that the measured record height is not estimated, or as with climate models pure data-generated guesses, but precisely measured. When the plume’s record height, enormous scope and subsequent spread over the earth became clear to the scientists, many also realized how serious the eruption in January was, is and will be for the earth’s climate. It was so alarming that in the spring they began to divulge figures regarding its consequences for the public.
45 times more than thought
What initially misled the public was that the ash cloud was not historically large, but in reality the eruption and its gas cloud, counting ash and water vapor combined, was the largest ever known in modern history. This is even though the 400 000 tons of sulfur dioxide, one of several gases Tonga released into the atmosphere, was only two percent of the amount that Pinatubo spewed in 1991.
According to a study from November by the New Zealand government research institute National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA ), the water vapor equivalent to 2,6 million swimming pools of Olympic standard was thrown into the atmosphere. This is remarkable as NASA as recently as early August estimated it to be “only” 58 000 swimming pools. Before that there were even lower numbers. It indicates that the scientists see something that makes them look for an explanation as to why the cloud is so large and therefore write down the constituent substances and gases of the plume. In this case with the water vapor, the estimate was increased by 45 times in just three months.
On October 24, the science magazine EOS, which belongs to Advancing Earth and Space Science (AGU), cited a research report by Schoeberl et al. (10.1029/2022GL100248). There, too, it appears that the amount of water vapor was the largest ever measured during a volcanic eruption. They write that up to 150 teragrams, or 150 000 000 000 kilograms, were shot up into the Earth’s stratosphere during the eruption.
The atmosphere and the earth’s surface cool
Water vapor made up a large part of the huge plume of ash and gas that rose to a height of 57 kilometers. Several months after the eruption, it could be noted that greatly elevated values of water vapor and sulfur-rich aerosol particles still remained in the stratosphere. The researchers base this on measurements made between January 15 and July 1 with NASA’s instruments on board the Aura satellite. The data show that as early as February, the water vapor and sulfur-rich aerosol particles separated into two distinct but overlapping air layers and spread until the end of June, as long as the measurement results were given. We therefore do not know what happened afterwards.
The researchers then write that “a surprising result” was that the gas cloud at a certain height, in the middle layers of the stratosphere, “remained in the southern hemisphere for 5.5 months, with very little material moving north of the equator.” That it did not spread as expected, even if it only concerned one of several altitude layers, further worsened the situation for agriculture in the affected areas. The researchers concluded that the unusually powerful eruption, which created such a high plume, is the reason for the enormous amount of water vapor that now remains in the stratosphere – something never seen before.
Nya Tider’s sources point out here that while system media and “research” will try to point to global warming, as water vapor is said to be a “greenhouse gas”, the actual belief is something completely different. An example of such misinformation is from the New York Times, which on September 22 wrote that the eruption “is expected to increase warming for several years until the gas dissipates”.
But the reality is quite different. The gigantic cloud of gas and ash – which has spread over large parts of the earth – blocks solar penetration and lowers the temperature, both on the earth’s surface and in the atmosphere. Scientists have been surprised by the cooling in the stratosphere.
Our sources’ claim is also corroborated by EOS/AGU who – for other researchers – write: “The data also revealed the development of an anomalous temperature drop in the mid-stratosphere of 3 to 4 degrees Kelvin through March and April, which appears to have been caused by the infrared cooling effects of the regurgitated water vapor.”
This corresponds to a reduced temperature of 3 to 4 degrees Celsius. We thus have both cooling in the atmosphere and, due to the reduced solar radiation, also on the ground surface. The consequent colder weather in itself also results in a shorter growing season and could threaten crops with frost damage. This evidently goes against the mainstream “global warming” narrative.
Photos and numbers are hidden
For reasons of space, we now choose to summarize our sources’ view of and conclusions about the outbreak and all available data, from which we have presented only a small selection above. However, the New York Times admitted something that even our sources warn about, that the gas cloud will affect us for a long time. But not that it will lead to a cooler climate on Earth.
By studying Pinatubo’s much smaller eruption in 1991, we can create a picture of what to expect. According to the study “The Atmospheric Impact of the 1991 Mount Pinatubo Eruption” by Self et al. published by the United States Geological Survey (USGS), the Earth’s average temperature dropped by 0,5 to 0,7 degrees Celsius as a result of the eruption in the Philippines in 1991. Two years later, the cooling effect was stated to be “as large as -0.4 °C”. Agriculture was very negatively affected by the Pinatubo eruption, but the Tonga eruption earlier this year was significantly larger – and thus has significantly worse consequences.
It is only when we see pictures taken from space that we get a true idea of how big the natural disaster was and is. In just one day, the ash cloud covered large parts of the earth, which was visible from, among others, the International Space Station ISS. But even though the ISS passes over the area every 1,5 hours, 16 times a day, there are only images from the first day. Our sources state that those taken later have been classified, as they show such a large ash and gas coverage that the scale of the disaster would be obvious to all. In the same vein, the news also disappeared from the world’s mainstream media.
Measurement data has also disappeared, and not least those showing the spread of the ash and gas cloud across latitude, north and south on the earth seen from the Tonga eruption. All authorities and organizations seem to have stopped reporting between March 1 and the end of June. One of the last to report was the New Zealand government research institute NIWA, which it did at the end of May (see chart).
Dramatically reduced solar radiation
We can state that the effects of the Tonga eruption – before the data was blacked out – are very serious. It affects all important growing areas in the southern hemisphere. Not only is it a very large area of spread for the gas and dust cloud, which has also crossed the equator and made it north to at least the Tropic of Cancer, but it has greatly reduced solar radiation to Earth since the eruption in January.
Solar radiation or insolation is a measure of incident solar radiation on the ground, i.e. the amount of solar energy on a given surface, and is expressed in Watts (power) per square meter (W/m²). The solar radiation has decreased over large areas by a dramatic 1-2 W/m2, which historically – including during the Little Ice Age (1430-1850) and its many volcanic eruptions – led to catastrophic consequences.
For example, during previous solar minimums, periods when the sun has unusually low activity, solar radiation decreased when it was at its worst by 1 to just over 1.5 W/m2. According to NASA, we entered a new solar minimum in December 2019, shortly before the Covid-19 pandemic was declared, and this solar cycle (number 25) will continue for about eleven years, until 2030.
For example, during the Maunder Minimum cold period (1645-1715), when the Great Belt froze so that Karl X Gustav could surprisingly march across the strait towards Copenhagen in 1658, the radiation dropped by around 1 W/m2. Combined with several volcanic eruptions, which become more frequent in connection with a solar minimum, it led to several years of crop failure and mass collapse. It has been estimated that a quarter of the world’s population died during that time. It was the last Grand Solar Minimum that hit humanity.
That the solar radiation after the Tonga eruption really decreased by as much as 1-2 W/m2 can be established based on the latest available figures from the end of February (Zhu et al. published in Nature on October 28, 2022). After this, they stopped reporting the explosive data.
By studying the consequences of Pinatubo’s eruption in 1991, we can assume that the spread of the Tonga cloud in the atmosphere will now affect solar radiation over mainly the southern hemisphere until at least April-May next year. It coincides with the current growing season in the Southern Hemisphere, where it is now summer.
Even after the spring of 2023, we can count on continued noticeable effects on temperature and agriculture at least into 2025.
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