From Watts Up With That?
Readers may recall that we have reported on the massive amount of water vapor that has been injected into the stratosphere by the 2022 eruption of the Hunga-Tonga volcano. A recent study said a 13% increase in stratospheric water mass and a 5-fold increase of stratospheric aerosol load.
Water vapor is by far the strongest greenhouse gas according to NASA, and it stands to reason that the dramatic increase in stratospheric water vapor is having an effect on global temperature.
Water vapor is Earth’s most abundant greenhouse gas. It’s responsible for about half of Earth’s greenhouse effect — the process that occurs when gases in Earth’s atmosphere trap the Sun’s heat.
Dr. Ryan Maue writes on Twitter:
Everything was going fine until mid-March 2023, and then a dramatic 1°C warming spike in a matter of 2-weeks raised global temperatures to the record levels we are at today.
La Nina –> El Nino is certainly important for the Equatorial Pacific temperature increase. But, how is Hunga-Tonga affecting the Southern Hemisphere polar vortex? Not so good with the Antarctic sea ice down there.
And, the Northern Hemisphere is much warmer than normal especially in the Atlantic. How are all those trillions of gallons of water vapor in the stratosphere doing? How much is left, and how many more years of impacts?
Maue provided this graph:
Another metric, the UAH satellite data also shows a spike in recent months, though still not as strong as the 2015/2016 El Nino, it is at least as strong as the 1997/1998 event.
From a recent publication, “Global perturbation of stratospheric water and aerosol burden by Hunga eruption” bold mine:
The eruption of the submarine Hunga volcano in January 2022 was associated with a powerful blast that injected volcanic material to altitudes up to 58 km. From a combination of various types of satellite and ground-based observations supported by transport modeling, we show evidence for an unprecedented increase in the global stratospheric water mass by 13% as compared to climatological levels, and a 5-fold increase of stratospheric aerosol load, the highest in the last three decades.
Figure 6. Global perturbation of stratospheric water vapour and aerosol burden. (A) 372 Evolution of the global MLS stratospheric water vapour mass (3-day averages) between 100 hPa 373 – 1 hPa pressure levels (solid black curve) and climatological (2004-2021 period) annual cycle 374 (dashed curve), the positive and negative anomalies are shown respectively as red and blue 375 shading. (B) Deseasonalized stratospheric water vapour mass anomaly (per cent 3-day averages) 376 for both hemispheres and the whole globe from MLS. The embedded panel shows the evolution 377 of global anomaly in 2022. (C) Stratospheric aerosol optical depth (SAOD) anomalies for the 60⁰ 378 S – 60⁰ N latitude band (monthly averages) from GloSSAC merged satellite record extended using 379 OMPS-LP measurements at 675 nm scaled to 525 nm wavelength using GloSSAC data and SAGE 380 III/ISS measurements at 521 nm converted to 525 nm using SAGEIII-derived Angstrom exponent. 381 The SAOD anomalies are computed with respect to the background level estimated as GloSSAC 382 SAOD average over volcanically-quiescent 1995-2003 period. The embedded panel shows the full 383 time span of SAOD series. The cyan and pink letters indicate the most significant volcanic 384 eruptions and wildfire events respectively (EC – El Chichon, Pi – Pinatubo, Sa – Sarychev, Na – 385 Nabro, Ke – Kelud, Ca – Calbuco, PNE – Pacific Northwest wildfire event, Ra – Raikoke, ANY 386 – Australian New Year wildfire event, HT – Hunga Tonga).
Here is a video worth watching on the issue.