GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — A violent volcanic eruption in the South Pacific on Saturday was strong enough to send shock waves across the country and a pressure drop that was detected hours later here in Michigan, more than 7,000 miles away.
The volcanic eruption completely decimated the island. Luckily it is uninhabited. Tonga comprises 169 islands, of which 36 are inhabited.
The eruption launched so much heat and energy into the sky that it created exceptionally high lightning counts! A lightning researcher from Vaisala saying the burst produced clouds with 10,000 strikes per hour, and almost 200,000 strikes total.
Lightning over Volcanic Eruption, Courtesy Vaisala
The volcano sent shock waves all over the planet with pressure drops registering on atmospheric stations in the United States several hours after the explosion. You can see the drop in pressure ripple across weather stations in a wave. Notice the icons registering orange and red in the below video.
The pressure drop was seen here in Michigan, too. Several weather stations all report a similar quick pressure drop all of similar magnitude around the time that we would expect a dip from the eruption.
The enormity of ash launched into the atmosphere could have a short-term cooling effect on the atmosphere, and very small long-term warming effect, something researchers will likely be monitoring closely.
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