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Tonga’s eruption injected so much water into Earth’s atmosphere that it could weaken the ozone layer

The GOES-17 satellite captured images of an umbrella cloud generated by the underwater eruption of the Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha’apai volcano on Jan. 15, 2022.  (Image credit: NASA Earth Observatory image by Joshua Stevens using GOES imagery courtesy of NOAA and NESDIS)

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When an underwater volcano in Tonga erupted in January, it belched out more than ash and volcanic gases; it also spewed 58,000 Olympic-size swimming pools’ worth of water vapor into Earth’s atmosphere, a new study finds.

This water vapor could end up being the most destructive part of the volcano‘s eruption because it could potentially exacerbate global warming and deplete the ozone layer, according to the study. 

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