Long-term surface impact of Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha'apai-like stratospheric water vapor injection
The amount of water vapor injected into the stratosphere after the eruption of Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha'apai (HTHH) was unprecedented, and it is therefore unclear what it might mean for surface climate. We use climate model simulations to assess the long-term surface impacts of stratospheric water vapor (SWV) anomalies caused by volcanic eruptions. The simulations show that the SWV anomalies lead to strong and persistent warming of Northern Hemisphere landmasses in boreal winter, and austral winter cooling over Australia. Thus, SWV forcing from volcanic eruptions like the one from Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha'apai can have surface impacts on a decadal timescale. We also emphasize that the surface response to SWV anomalies is more complex than simple warming due to greenhouse forcing and is influenced by factors such as regional circulation patterns and cloud feedbacks. Further research is needed to fully understand the multi-year effects of SWV anomalies and their relationship with climate phenomena like El Niño Southern Oscillation.