In 2023, record-high temperatures have been observed globally. Scientists attribute this unusual heat to various factors, including an underwater volcanic eruption off Tonga (Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha’apai) in the South Pacific in January 2022.
While most volcanic eruptions typically cool the planet due to sun-dimming particles, this eruption released a significant amount of water vapour and Sulfur dioxide into the stratosphere, a natural greenhouse gas that traps heat.
The volcano is located in the Tonga island of the South Pacific Ocean. It is part of the Tonga–Kermadec Islands volcanic arc formed due to the subduction of the Pacific Plate under the Indo-Australian Plate.
Tonga is a Polynesian kingdom of more than 170 South Pacific islands, many uninhabited, most lined in white beaches and coral reefs and covered with tropical rainforest.