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Weekly Article -

Tonga Eruption in the News

RAMMB Weekly Update

A volcano, named Hunga Tonga – Hunga Ha’apai, approximately 100 km northwest of Tonga’s capital of Nuku’alofa, erupted twice during the last week. The second eruption, around 04:00 UTC on 15 January 2022, was heard and felt around the world, with many speculating this to be the largest volcanic eruption of the satellite era. There were reports that the sound from the eruption could be heard as far away as Alaska. Tsunami waves were observed along many Pacific Ocean coastlines. The eruption severed the underwater cable providing Internet service to Tonga and, at the time of this writing, little is known about the true impacts of this event on the Tongan people. This volcanic eruption was observed by both Himawari-8 and GOES-17, and these images were shared on social media as well as traditional media outlets. A sampling of media outlets sharing CIRA and NOAA imagery (largely acquired through use of SLIDER) is provided below. An animation on Twitter, from user @US_Stormwatch (, made from SLIDER imagery, was re-tweeted nearly 50,000 times in five days following the major eruption. (POC: C. Seaman, D. Smith, R. Brummer, and S. Miller, CIRA, D. Lindsey, GOES-R;;;;; Funding: GOES-R

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Data Products

The Regional and Mesoscale Meteorology Branch (RAMMB) of NOAA/NESDIS conducts research on the use of satellite data to improve analysis, forecasts and warnings for regional and mesoscale meteorological events. RAMMB is co-located with the Cooperative Institute for Research in the Atmosphere (CIRA) at Colorado State University in Fort Collins, CO.