Tonga Volcano Eruption Causes Pink Atmospheric ‘Afterglow’ Above Antarctica


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Scientists have taken breath-taking photos of Antarctica’s skies, including these stunning shots by Stuart Shaw (Antarctica New Zealand science technician) who is stationed there. Scott BaseWinter in the Southern Hemisphere

“Antarctica is almost always dark in the middle of winter, with the exception of a brief ‘nautical tide’ at midday, which allows for faint visibility of the horizon in good conditions. The show was spectacular this year and most station personnel ran outside to take pictures. These shots are exactly as they were when we took them. “It’s amazing,” stated Mr. Shaw.

After reading a story about the, he was inspired to share the photos. National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research, (NIWA).About unusually pink skies in New Zealand due to remnant aerosols in stratosphere January’s Tongan volcanic eruptionHe was shocked to discover that he was experiencing the same effect at bottom of the world.

Nava Fedaeff (NIWA forecaster) says that satellite data indicates an abundance of AerosolsThe eruption created a stratosphere that was between 15-24 kilometers above Antarctica.

“Stratospheric Aerosols can circulate around the globe for months following a volcanic eruption. They scatter light and bend light as it dips or rises above the horizon. A glow in the sky created by hues of pink and purple.. “These volcanic twilights, also known as “afterglows,” are color- and intensity-dependent on the amount of cloudiness and haze along the path of light reaching into the stratosphere,” stated Ms. Fedaeff.

Aerosols consist mainly of sulfate particle, but because this was an undersea explosion, it is likely that water vapor droplets, as well as sea salt, are in the mix.

Jordy Hendrikx, Antarctica New Zealand’s Chief Scientist Advisor, says that “Nature never fails in Antarctica to put on a performance. It can be beautiful and destructive.”

“These photos capture the wonder and connection that Antarctica inspires. Antarctica lies approximately 5,000 km from New Zealand and 7,000 kilometers from Tonga. But we share our skies.

“What happens in Antarctica has an impact on us here at home and vice versa.” We support science that aims to understand these dynamics in the oceans, atmospheres, and ecosystems. It also helps to better understand how Antarctica, New Zealand and the rest of the world connect.


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