In 2022, an underwater volcano erupted near Tonga, killing the Hawaiian island, causing significant damage. Researchers at Japan''s Nagoya University have used the data from the eruption and disturbances in the Earth''s atmosphere to track the airwaves that caused the tsunami. These findings are now likely to assist in forecasting future gigantic waves and tsunamis.
During a tsunami, the lower atmosphere becomes deformified as a result of an oscillation of sounds and gravity waves that cause electrons to collapse. At the same time, radio waves from satellites and those used in GPS pass through this layer of atmosphere, which causes errors in positional information provided by GPS during a natural disaster.
In a recent research published in Earth, Planets, and Space, a team of researchers used GPS and satellite data to investigate the impacts of the Tonga volcanic eruption in 2022. It was observed that the eruption caused waves of air pressure that reached as far as Australia and Japan.
These waves sparked an oscillation in the lower part of the ionosphere that then generated electric fields. These fields were then transmitted to the upper atmosphere at high speed. The researchers found that the electron charges were detected earlier than the pressure airwaves that caused the tsunami.
The ionospheric disturbance caused by the air pressure wave about three hours before the pressure wave from the volcanic eruption thought to have triggered the tsunami in Japan, according to Assistant Professor Atsuki Shinbori.
The significance of these results can be divided into two categories: the scientific aspect of a coupled system, and the disaster prevention aspect of preparation for severe events such as tsunamis, according to Shinbori.
According to the professor, a better understanding of disturbances during a volcanic eruption in the ionosphere and monitoring seismic events may lead to a successful tsunami prediction.