Global Geological And Climatic Events

Hunga Tonga Volcanic Eruption


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Prelims level: Hunga Tonga Volcano

Why in the News?

Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha’apai (Hunga Tonga) erupted in Tonga, triggering a tsunami and global seismic waves.

About Hunga Tonga Volcano

  • The Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha’apai volcano is situated in the western South Pacific Ocean, west of the main inhabited islands in the Kingdom of Tonga. It lies on the Pacific Ring of Fire.
  • It forms part of the Tofua Arc, within the larger Tonga-Kermadec volcanic arc, resulting from the subduction of the Pacific Plate beneath the Indo-Australian Plate.
  • It comprises two small uninhabited islands, Hunga-Ha’apai and Hunga-Tonga.
  • Hunga Tonga is one of 12 confirmed submarine volcanoes along the Tofua Arc.

Key Findings on Hunga Tonga Eruption

  • The Hunga Tonga eruption primarily emitted water vapour, which reached the stratosphere, affecting ozone depletion and acting as a potent greenhouse gas. Minimal smoke was produced.

Impact on Weather

  • Ozone Hole: The study reveals that Hunga Tonga contributed to the exceptionally large ozone hole in the preceding year and the unexpectedly wet summer of 2024.
  • Global Mean Temperatures: While the eruption had a negligible effect on global temperatures, it induced lasting regional disruptions in atmospheric wave patterns.
    • Traditionally, massive volcanic eruptions reduce temperatures by emitting sulfur dioxide, which forms sulphate aerosols reflecting sunlight.
  • Regional Effects: Anticipated changes include colder and wet winters in northern Australia, warmer winters in North America, and colder winters in Scandinavia until approximately 2029.

Do you know?

Previous volcanic eruptions, such as Tambora in 1815 and Samalas in 1257, have significantly impacted global climate, leading to phenomena like the “year without a summer” and the onset of the Little Ice Age.



[2021] Discuss about the vulnerability of India to earthquake-related hazards. Give examples including the salient features of major disasters caused by earthquakes in different parts of India during the last three decades.

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