Ash from Tonga eruption reaches record altitude but climate cooling unlikely

The volcanic eruption that destroyed a small island in Polynesia on Saturday (Jan. 15) injected a huge amount of ash into a record altitude but won’t cause any disruption to Earth’s climate, experts said.

Satellites detected the ash cloud, which has already spread over Australia, at over 24 miles (39 kilometers) above Earth’s surface, Oxford University research fellow Simon Proud said on Twitter on Monday (Jan. 17). This was the first time volcanic ash has been detected so high in Earth’s atmosphere, he added.