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Timelines of plume characteristics of the Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha’apai eruption sequence from 19 December 2021 to 16 January 2022: Himawari-8 observations
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  • Ashok Kumar Gupta,
  • Ralf Bennartz,
  • Kristen E Fauria,
  • Tushar Mittal
Ashok Kumar Gupta
Vanderbilt University, Vanderbilt University

Corresponding Author:ashok.k.gupta@vanderbilt.edu

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Ralf Bennartz
Vanderbilt University/University of Wisconsin -Madison, Vanderbilt University/University of Wisconsin -Madison
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Kristen E Fauria
Vanderbilt University, Vanderbilt University
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Tushar Mittal
Mas-sachusetts Institute of Technology, Mas-sachusetts Institute of Technology
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The 15 January 2022 shallow water eruption of Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha’apai (HTHH) volcano was remarkable, in part, because it produced the highest plume observed in the advanced satellite era. The Himawari-8 geostationary satellite captured this HTHH eruption well and provides a unique opportunity to track the evolution (plume and umbrella cloud height) of a large volcanic eruption through time. The 15 January 2022 eruption was preceded by eruptions in late December 2021 and 13 January 2022, for which we have also assessed plume characteristics. In addition to umbrella cloud height, we use Himawari-8 data to determine the radial expansion of the umbrella clouds and volumetric flow rates (VFR). The altitude of umbrella clouds preceding 15 January 2022 reached ~16-18 km, crossing into the stratosphere. On the day of the large climactic eruption (15 January 2022), the umbrella clouds attained a height close to 31 km. We observed two powerful explosive eruptions on 15 January at an interval of four hours, indicated by the minimum 11.2μm brightness temperature occurring at 04:10 UTC (172 K) and 08:10 UTC (174 K). On 15 January 2022, beyond 05:30 UTC, the strong westward propagation of upper umbrella (UB) clouds at ~31 km enabled the visibility of lower umbrella (UA) clouds at ~18 km. We find that UA is mainly dominant with ash, whereas UB is dominant with thick ice clouds based on brightness temperature difference analysis. The satellite-derived VFR for 15 January 2022 is around 5.00 x 10^11 m3s-1, nearly two orders of magnitude higher than that estimated on 19 December 2021 and 13 January 2022 eruptions.