NASA Says Tonga Eruption Sent Up Highest Ash Plumes Ever Captured by Satellite

‘Brink of Catastrophe’: Drought Worsens Humanitarian Crisis in East Africa

The Horn of Africa is facing a severe drought that risks compounding ongoing humanitarian crises, including a devastating conflict in Ethiopia that has displaced at least 2 million people.

“If your immune system is constantly under attack, it becomes harder and harder to ward off new diseases if you’re constantly battling them,” Hudson said. “That’s sort of the same here. The resiliency systems are just not able to keep up with the demand on them.”

As the drought destroys crops and livestock, more than 13 million people are expected to experience severe levels of hunger, according to the U.N. World Food Program. Arid conditions have already slashed food production and killed an estimated 1.5 million livestock, a stark loss that has exacerbated food insecurity across the region. In Ethiopia, more than 6 million drought-affected people will likely require food aid, and in neighboring Somalia, the drought has already displaced roughly 245,000 people. That number could spike to 1.4 million if the drought worsens, according to projections from the Norwegian Refugee Council.

The drought, fueled by the impacts of climate change, threatens to overwhelm the already strained humanitarian crisis infrastructure in East Africa, experts warn…READ ON

NASA Says Tonga Eruption Sent Up Highest Ash Plumes Ever Captured by Satellite

NASA scientists analyzed the satellite imagery to determine that the initial outburst of ash rocketed 36 miles (58 kilometers) high, breaching the mesosphere – the region where meteorites falling to Earth burn up and create shooting stars streaking across the night sky.

When a volcano in Tonga erupted on January 15, it gave satellites their first glimpse at a plume of volcanic ash shooting into the mesosphere, the third layer of Earth’s atmosphere.

According to NASA, the Tonga event was the largest volcanic eruption since satellites began monitoring our planet. As the Pacific volcano shot a burst of ash and gases into the sky, with the force of about 10 megatons of TNT, two weather satellites were passing overhead.

The spacecraft – the National Atmospheric and Oceanic Administration’s GOES-17 and the Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency’s Himawari-8 – captured the eruption in infrared every 10 minutes for about 13 hours…READ ON

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