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Tonga Eruption’s Wake of Destruction



Hunga Tonga eruption and its effects

At 3pm AEDT on 15th January 2022, Japan’s meteorological satellite Himawari-8, saw the Hunga Tonga-Hunga-Ha’apai volcano erupt with such force that it caused a sonic boom which could be heard over the South Pacific and as far away as Alaska, United States. Atmospheric shockwaves travelled around the globe and were picked up in Iceland. Volcanologists say that the eruption now holds the world record for being heard so far from the volcano.

The resulting tsunami waves in Tonga were 49 feet high and caused three deaths, injuries with multiple people missing. Two more people drowned in Peru after the tsunami struck there.

This is the biggest volcano eruption in over a hundred years according to preliminary data. Before this, an eruption of such strength occurred at Mount Krakatoa in Indonesia in 1883. 

A volcano is a crack in the earth’s crust from which eruptions originate. There are around 1500 potentially active volcanoes in the world. When volcanoes erupt, they can spew hot, toxic gases, ash, lava and rock, which can cause catastrophic loss of life and property, especially in densely populated areas. There are also other types of volcanic eruptive events, such as pyroclastic explosions, which emit fast-moving hot gas and volcanic materials such as hot ash.

Effects of hot ash exposure

Exposure to ash can be hazardous. If infants, the elderly, and adults with respiratory illnesses such as asthma, emphysema, and other chronic lung ailments breathe in volcanic ash, they may experience complications. Ash is gritty, abrasive, occasionally acidic and always unpleasant. Small ash particles can abrade the cornea of the eye. Ash particles may include crystalline silica, a substance that causes silicosis, a respiratory ailment.

Volcanic ash can cause:

  • suffocation
  • infectious diseases, such as conjunctivitis
  • respiratory diseases caused by falling ash and inhaling gases and fumes, both acute and chronic
  • burns and traumatic injuries, such as lacerations from falling rock
  • acid rain causes irritation to the eyes and skin
  • contamination of food and water resources.
  • The accumulation of ash on roofs can collapse buildings 

Effects of lava flows

Everything in a lava flow’s course will be knocked over, enveloped, smothered, or incinerated by its incredibly high temperature. If lava meets a body of water or water enters a lava tube, the water may aggressively boil, resulting in an explosive shower of molten spatter over a large region. Methane gas, which is created when lava covers plants, has the ability to move in subterranean cavities and explode when heated. Viscous lava flows, particularly those that create a dome, can collapse into fast-moving pyroclastic flows.

Other natural disasters, such as hurricanes, tornadoes, tsunamis, fires, and earthquakes, frequently destroy buildings, agricultural crops, and residences; but these structures may generally be rebuilt or restored on the same sites. Lava flows, on the other hand, can bury homes and agricultural land beneath tens of metres of solidified black rock, obscuring landmarks and property borders in a huge, new hummocky landscape. People are rarely able to utilise or sell land that has been buried by lava flows for more than a small percentage of its prior value.

Effects of emitted volcano gases 

The majority of a volcano’s gases quickly dissipate. Heavy gases, such as carbon dioxide and hydrogen sulphide can, however, accumulate in low-lying places. Water vapour is the most frequent volcanic gas, followed by carbon dioxide and sulphur dioxide. The latter can cause breathing problems in both healthy persons and those suffering from asthma or other respiratory issues. Hydrogen chloride, carbon monoxide, and hydrogen fluoride are some other types of volcanic gases. The concentrations of these gases fluctuate greatly from one volcanic outburst to the next. Although these normally dissipate quickly, those who live near the volcano or in low-lying regions downwind may be exposed to amounts that are hazardous to their health. Gases, even at low concentrations, can irritate the eyes, nose and throat. And at greater concentrations can induce fast breathing, headache, disorientation, throat swelling and spasm, and asphyxia.

Secondary disaster events

If there is associated rain, snow, or melting ice, volcanic eruptions can also create secondary events such as floods, landslides, and mudslides. Wildfires may also be sparked by hot ashes.

Effects on climate change

Gases and dust particles emitted into the atmosphere by volcanic eruptions have an impact on the climate. The majority of particles emitted by volcanoes serve to cool the globe by shielding it from incoming solar radiation. Depending on the conditions of the eruption, the cooling impact might extend for months or years. Volcanoes have also contributed to global warming throughout millions of years, releasing greenhouse gases during periods of intense volcanism in earth’s history.

Volcanoes may be located in specific locations on earth, but their impacts can be widely dispersed when gases, dust, and ash enter the atmosphere. Volcanic eruptions in the tropics can affect the climate in both hemispheres due to air circulation patterns, but eruptions in mid or high latitudes only affect the hemisphere they are in. 

Volcanic eruptions lead to sulphur dioxide emissions in the atmosphere that when combined with water vapours make sulphuric acid. These acid droplets reflect solar radiation back into space causing cooling of the earth’s surface. On the other hand, greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide and water vapours could also be emitted which can cause global warming.

Several eruptions throughout the last century have resulted in a one to three year drop in average temperature at the earth’s surface of up to half a degree (Fahrenheit scale).

Volcanic eruptions, especially the size and magnitude of the Hunga Tonga-Hunga-Ha’apai volcano, produce hazardous effects on the environment, climate, and health of the exposed people, and are associated with the deterioration of social and economic conditions. However, with this unprecedented event, where the shock waves travelled around the earth at least three times and generated tsunamis roughly the same size as the local one, and over many hours, in Japan, Chile, and the West Coast of the United States, scientists will need to analyse the data for a long time to provide a proper answer to what the aftereffects of this event on earth could be.

All views expressed in this editorial are solely that of the author, and are not expressed on behalf of The Analyst, its affiliates, or staff.

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‘Effects of nuclear war globally catastrophic’, new study warns.



Impact of nuclear war on climate

A nuclear war could lead to a ‘nuclear ice age’, plummeting global temperatures, eradicating a vast proportion of sea life and largely implicating global food security, a new study indicates.

Researchers at Louisiana State University in the US conducted several computer simulations in an Earth System Model to assess the impacts of regional and global nuclear wars on oceans. The study, which examined the potential consequences of

conflicts between the US and Russia, as well as Pakistan and India, revealed that in every scenario, smoke and soot from firestorms would release into the upper atmosphere, obstructing the sun and plunging temperatures at an average of 13F (-11C) within  just one month.

Cheryl Harrison, assistant professor and lead author of the study, said the impact would be all-consuming. 

“It doesn’t matter who is bombing whom. It can be India and Pakistan or NATO and Russia. Once the smoke is released into the upper atmosphere it spreads globally and affects everyone,” she told Bloomberg.

“We can and must, however, do everything we can to avoid nuclear war. The effects are too likely to be globally catastrophic,” she added.

The simulations involved testing the impacts of the US and Russia bombing cities and industrial sites with 4, 400 nuclear weapons weighing 100 kilotons or Pakistan and India detonating 500 of the explosives. 

Alan Robock, Professor in the Department of Environmental Sciences at Rutgers University, said he hoped the study would “encourage” greater action to thwart the threat.

“Nuclear warfare results in dire consequences for everyone. World leaders have used our studies previously as an impetus to end the nuclear arms race in the 1980s, and five years ago to pass a treaty in the United Nations to ban nuclear weapons. We hope that this new study will encourage more nations to ratify the ban treaty.”

The research warned that a US and Russia conflict may lead to permanent increased Artic sea ice extent and volume. 

A UN report also warned of the rapid “global collapse” of civilisations, partially induced by global conflicts, unless urgent steps were taken to address the issue. 

The latest American study follows a warning to British troops by the army’s top general to prepare to “deter Russian aggression with the threat of force”. Shortly after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the Russia Foreign Minister, Sergie Lavrov said a Third World War would involve nuclear weapons and destruction would not be limited to Eastern Europe. 

Ocean temperatures could fall, and sea ice expand by six million square miles, affecting trading as major ports, such as Tianjin in China would be occluded.

Reversing the damage would take decades, the study warned. 

A report from the thinktank Stockholm International Peace Research Institute said that the global nuclear arsenal, since the cold war, is expected to increase drastically in the next few years and reversal this amid tensions between Russia and Ukraine is unlikely.

John Erath, senior policy director for the Centre for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation, warned earlier that NATO was only capable of blocking an “extremely limited attack” if Russia were to launch a ballistic missile.

As record temperatures hit the UK, scientists claim that frequent and intense heatwaves are the result of human-induced climate change. 

All views expressed in this editorial are solely that of the author, and are not expressed on behalf of The Analyst, its affiliates, or staff.

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Chlorine Gas Leak in Jordan Port City Kills Thirteen People



Port Of Aqaba City
  • A gas leak in Aqaba, Jordan killed at least thirteen people and injured more than 250. A storage container carrying between 25 and 30 tonnes of chlorine gas fell as it was being exported to Djibouti, releasing the gas.
  • A video of the incident on state TV shows the container being dropped onto the deck of the ship and a yellow colored gas spreading through the air as people try to evacuate. The accident seems to be a result of the crane malfunctioning.
  • If chlorine is inhaled at high levels, it can cause life-threatening damage. A nearby beach in Aqaba was evacuated as a safety precaution, and residents who live in the nearest residential area, about 25 kilometers (15 miles) away, were advised to stay inside and close windows.
  • Jordan’s Prime Minister Bisher al-Khasawneh traveled to Aqaba and visited some of the injured at the hospital. He also formed a team led by the interior minister to investigate the incident.

All views expressed in this editorial are solely that of the author, and are not expressed on behalf of The Analyst, its affiliates, or staff.

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The world is ageing at a rapid pace and there will be consequences



World and Aging Hands

There are more old people in the world than there are young people. Both developed and developing countries have to be ready to take the huge burden of the rising population of older people.

According to 2019 data from the UN, the proportion of people aged 60 and over will be 1 in 6 by the year 2050. However, a more recent observation by the WHO shows that the world might reach these statistics much sooner; that is, by 2030. And by 2050, the population of over 60 will double to almost 2.1 billion people.

This demographic change has already occurred in some developed countries. In Japan, the median age is 48 years old, and this makes Japan’s population the oldest in the world. By 2060, there will be one elderly person for each person of working age.

Similarly, there are already more people aged 60 and over in Europe and North America than young people under the age of 15. Germany is another example. It is predicted that by 2050 the population of the income-generating population will fall from 55 million to less than 40 million.

The change is greatest in developed countries because of low mortality rates as well as low fertility rates. This means new children are not being born while the healthcare of the country is improving, so people and children live longer.

The data for the population of the world in 2020 already shows that the population aged 65 and older is 727 million, whereas the population under 5 is 677 million.

There are many consequences of this change. The biggest is the increase in the dependent population, which will affect the economy of the country. Most people over the age of 60 are retired, so they depend on pensions while the younger income-generating population is responsible for providing the money through taxes. The taxes will need to increase to meet the demands of the older generation. Not only that, the government has to spend more money on the older generation who don’t earn on their own rather than invest in developing the country.

There will also be a rise in chronic illnesses which will affect the allocation of healthcare facilities as right now there is more focus on infectious diseases. Since there will be an increase in the older generation, there will be even less informal care from the remaining younger family members. Elderly abuse is already an issue, but there will be a rise in this form of abuse as well.

Christopher Murray, director of the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington, said, “There will be very few children and lots of people over the age of 65, and that makes it very difficult to sustain global society.”

Adding, “Think of all the profound social and economic consequences for a society with more grandparents than grandchildren.”

For many reasons, in America, most women are staying child-free or having children later in life. The biggest reason is the expense required to raise children. Since 2007, the birth rate for women in their 20s has fallen by 28%, shows data.

Similarly, in England and Wales, the percentage of women in their 30s without children rose from 18% in 1975 to 50% in 2020.

Unless more work is done to replace the population and prevent population shrinkage by encouraging people to have more children, the economies of many countries need to prepare for a boost from the older population.

All views expressed in this editorial are solely that of the author, and are not expressed on behalf of The Analyst, its affiliates, or staff.

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UN: Total Societal Collapse is Looming




The UN Global Assessment Report on Disaster Risk Reduction assesses systematic risks for the future. Apart from other risks from natural disasters, economic shocks and climate change, the risk of “global collapse” of civilisation has increased even more, it said.

Why is this collapse getting so close now? It is directly linked with the interference of human activities with natural systems, or “planetary boundaries”. The planetary boundary is a concept that involved nine processes that regulate the stability and resilience of the Earth system. If these boundaries are stretched, it will reduce the “safe operating space” for human habitation .

There have been many goals to reduce the impact of climate change and built resilience. Such as the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030; and the Sustainable Development Goals and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

Most of these goals have to be reached by 2030, and we are dangerously behind the schedule. The result is a world where people cannot survive. 

Too Late to Change?

According to a 2015 report, the world has already gone past the safe operating zone of four boundaries. These are climate change, land system change, biochemical flows, and novel entities. According to Professor Will Steffen of the Stockholm Resilience Centre, two more boundaries are close to reaching their limits. These are ocean acidification, and freshwater use. 

The UN report states “the human material and ecological footprint is accelerating the rate of change. A potential impact when systemic risks become cascading disasters is that systems are at risk of collapse.”

The war in Ukraine and the pandemic due to Covid-19 are just the beginning. If we don’t make immediate changes, the consequences could be much worse. Global risks like climate change are already having a huge impact on the world. Global Catastrophic Risk (GCR) events are more likely to happen now than ever. These are defined as a “larger than hemispheric area and produce death tolls of many millions and/or economic losses greater than several trillion USD,”  

Is this irreversible now? The UN report believes that change is still possible. We just need “to transform systems now. To build resilience by addressing climate change and to reduce the vulnerability, exposure, and inequality that drive disasters,” it says

All views expressed in this editorial are solely that of the author, and are not expressed on behalf of The Analyst, its affiliates, or staff.

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Daily Brief

Over a Million Homes Without Power Due to Severe Storm in Canada



2022 May 15 Somer Storm in Waterdown Laslovarga 8 scaled
  • A powerful thunderstorm in Southern Canada caused over 900,00 homes to lose power. Ontario’s power company Hydro One claims it would take several days to reconnect every home. 
  • The strong winds of the storm destroyed trees, disrupted traffic, damaged homes, and saw emergency services swarmed with calls for help. 
  • Among the casualties are four people who were killed by falling trees as well as a woman who died due to a boat capsizing in the Ottawa River.
  • Firefighters and utility workers removed tangled power lines and phone poles in media circulating in Canada. The town of Uxbridge, which lies just north of Toronto, declared a state of emergency as the storm left “significant damage in its wake.”

All views expressed in this editorial are solely that of the author, and are not expressed on behalf of The Analyst, its affiliates, or staff.

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Daily Brief

Californian Coast Engulfed with Fires yet Again



California Brush Fire night 1 scaled
  • A brushfire has burned about 200 acres of land in Orange County, California. 
  • It has set ablaze 20 mansions, valued at  around 20 million dollars, in the area and damaged 11 others. 
  • More than 130 houses have been evacuated. The long drought and global temperature rise has been causing such fires in the regions’ recent history.
  • 550 firefighters have been at work trying to control and push back the fire from burning more land. 2 firefighters have been injured doing so. 
  • The fire has only been 25% contained but worries and evacuation grows as the coming days’ temperatures are predicted to rise over 100 degrees Celsius.

All views expressed in this editorial are solely that of the author, and are not expressed on behalf of The Analyst, its affiliates, or staff.

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