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

More than eight months after the undersea volcano near Tonga erupted on January 14, scientists are still analyzing the effects of the violent eruption and finding that it could be warming the planet.

Recently, researchers estimated that the Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha’apa eruption spewed 50 million tons (45 million metric tons) of water vapor into the atmosphere, in addition to massive amounts of ash and volcanic gases. This massive injection of steam 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 persist for months, according to a new study.

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