Violent Tonga Volcanic Explosion Extremely Rare | The Sound & Lightning

Washington (GGM) Analysis | January 20, 2022, by Noreen Wise, Founder & CEO of Gallant Gold Media, and author; Image Credit AdobeStock

The massive volcanic explosion that obliterated the young island of Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha’apai in Tonga on January 15, 2022 stunned volcanologists and experts around the world. “This is by far the highest volcanic plume we’ve ever measured with CALIPSO,” said Jason Tackett, a researcher at NASA’s Langley Research Center, as reported in NASA’s Earth Observatory article. Tonga is a nation of more than 150 islands with less than 100,000 inhabitants living on 35 of the islands.

Although earthquakes, and volcanic activity and eruptions, are common along the Ring of Fire — a massive tectonic belt that stretches around the rim of the Pacific Ocean in a sweeping arch from the Eastern shore of Australia up to Japan, across to Northwest Canada, the Western US coastline, Central America and down along the South American coast. The force of the Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha’apai explosion was extraordinary. News reports assert that no one could have anticipated this. James Garvin, NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center chief scientist told NPR: “They weren’t ash — they were solid rock, blown to bits,” he says. “It was quite amazing to see that happen.”

The blast abruptly cut off all communication with Tonga and we’re only just beginning to learn of the country’s fate.

“All agriculture is ruined.”

Lord Fakafanua, Speaker of the House

The Force. The violent explosion was so powerful, it was picked up by NASA satellite and shocked the world with its extraordinary breadth, stretching 300 miles in diameter. According to The Pilot, “This was a rare disturbance…Eruptions this violent only occur once every 1,000 years.” Scientists speculate that the strength of the eruption had something to do with sea water seeping into the magma causing it to be much more explosive than typical volcanic eruptions. Water gets trapped. It heats up and is vaporized until it eventually explodes. 

  • It was so destructive that the middle section of the volcanic island completely collapsed.
  • James Garvin told NPR that the explosion was equivalent to 10 megatons of TNT, 500 times the force of the World War II nuclear bomb dropped on Hiroshima, Japan. 
  • It created atmospheric shock waves.
  • Materials from the explosion were injected 19 miles high into the air and penetrated the stratosphere, with trace amounts reaching as high as 24.7 miles.
  • Triggered tsunamis that hit multiple countries thousands of miles away: Canada, US, Peru, and Japan. 
  • Sonic boom so loud it could be heard in Alaska, the UK and India.
  • Loudest event anywhere on Earth in the past 100 years.

The Lightning. According to The Pilot, the staggering volume of lightning associated with the Tongo volcano has never been seen before.

  • 200,000 lightning strikes in one hour.
  • Friction created by the ash and dust found in the soaring plumes ignites and forms lightning bolts.
  • Hot ash tracks up the plume and reaches the cold atmosphere which creates even more lightning.
  • The drier the ash, the more lightning will occur.
  • Presence of lightning is increased exponentially by the existence of water in the magma. The unprecedented volume of lightning associated with this particular volcano confirms the rarely seen water in the magma.

The Tsunami.

  • All the homes on Tonga’s Mango Island were destroyed. Flooded coastlines in the Pacific from West Canada, the US, South America all the way across to Japan.
  • 6,000 barrel oil spill off the coast of Peru caused an ecological disaster that has killed thousands of wildlife covered by oil. Peru’s foreign minister is asking Repsol to compensate all the fishermen who have lost their livelihoods due to the spill.
  • Flooding in Santa Cruz, California went viral on social media.
  • There are always “miracles”: Lsala Folau, a 57 year old disabled man was swept out to sea when the huge tsunami wave knocked him off his ladder while painting his house. He swam nearly 5 miles, and after 27 hours, he reached the large island of Tongatapu, per The Telegraph.

Climate and the environmental impact.

  • The sulfur dioxide emitted during volcanic eruptions that reaches the stratosphere can cool the planet for months, and in some cases, as we saw in the Mt. Pinatubo eruption in 1991, can cool the planet by 1º for up to a year. 
  • There are likely a number of scientists who might dream of monthly large-scale volcanic eruptions as a short term fix to our climate crisis. But apparently, despite it’s strength, the Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha’apai explosion isn’t projected to impact our current state of overheating. According to NASA’s Earth Observatory, the Tonga eruption only emitted .4 teragrams of sulfur dioxide into the stratosphere, nowhere close to the 5 teragramsneeded to cool the planet.
  • The higher water levels, a result of global warming, certainly caused much higher waves, and much more flooding along global coastlines than would have otherwise been the case. 
  • The sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxide released in the eruption will result in acid rain across the region that will result in catastrophic crop loss.
  • The oil spill that destroyed beaches along Peru’s shoreline near Lima will take a great deal of painstaking effort and time to clean up.

In the months that follow, scientists will be studying the remaining fragments of what once was the volcanic island of Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha’apai. This uninhabited volcanic island had a very short existence, emerging from the sea in 2015 following a century of volcanic eruptions. There is a lot to learn from this unusual and extreme natural event. Stay tuned fro more information. 

“Nature has no boundaries.” 

The Pilot

© 2018 – 2022. ALL Rights Reserved.


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“Dr. Mindy, can I be vulnerable in your car?” | Don’t Look Up

Washington (GGM) Analysis | December 20, 2021, by Noreen Wise, Founder & CEO of Gallant Gold Media, and author 

All true things said in jest, right? That was certainly my impression when I checked out Don’t Look Up on December 10, 2021. This timely film is an ink blot test, which becomes abundantly clear when scrolling through the majority of mainstream media reviews. You’ll quickly discover that most are nothing more than defensive ambushes against Adam McKay, (writer, producer and director of Don’t Look Up), and his star-studded cast, with the trademark fossil fuel maniacal thumbprint.

The truth hurts. 

As a climate activist, my impression of McKay’s intrepid work was that it was masterfully written. A satirical mask covering the faces and behaviors of very real people. Picking up on the legitimacy behind each raw jab, I felt grateful to hear the facts spoken this way. It disarms and makes us much more open-minded to the next painful truth. It’s as though the script was written in code, and whoever can decipher will know how to proceed with climate action.

Heart of the matter. Don’t Look Up is a multi-dimensional, emotional roller-coaster filled with nuances. In addition to his unchained smack down of politicians and their short-term priorities, self-serving tech giants, and the soulless media, Adam McCay skillfully weaves in valuable advice throughout the film that we’d otherwise have to pay a lot of money when we visited a crisis manager or therapist.

Timothée Chalamet’s character, Yule, portrayed this aspect of the parody so admirably. The best line in Don’t Look UP wasn’t a slick diss, but rather  Chalamet’s, “Dr. Mindy, can I be vulnerable in your car?”

In my humble opinion, allowing ourselves to admit to our vulnerability is the key takeaway.  “Can I be vulnerable” is a pivotal question in this transformational film, and becomes Don’t Look Up’s valuable contribution to our global society. It’s the question that will lead to the majority of effective solutions required to successfully solve the climate crisis. Until we’re willing to expose ourselves to risks and rejections, making mistakes through trial and error, and taking big leaps, we won’t be able to stay below 1.5ºC. 

Chalamet also models the benefit of having a personal spiritual substratum to help us deal with all the harsh unknowns.

Thankfully, Chalamet nails both of these critical concepts. We now have a mental image to work off of that reinforces how cool it is to be vulnerable and deep.

Adam McKay was first in line to expose his own vulnerability in taking the big leap of faith to create Don’t Look Up. As if on cue, the mainstream media’s shallow and acidic reaction to Don’t Look Up is WHY so many innovators with new ideas remain silent and refuse to act. By putting his own neck on the line, McKay has not only exposed, but he’s ruptured the barriers that restrain many innovators.  What a brilliant and daring legacy McKay has bestowed on humanity at this critical juncture in our timeline, creating a path in the tangled wilderness for others to follow. Hopefully many of us will take the necessary risks after watching Don’t Look Up when it’s released on Netflix, December 24, 2021.

The remarkable cast of stars, promoting a powerful message to the public, urging us to open our eyes, “JUST LOOK UP,” and do the right thing to end global warming for humanity’s sake, is the equivalent of the music industry banding together and creating “We Are the World” to provide relief during the 1985 African famine. 

Jennifer Lawrence’s flawless depiction of PhD candidate Kate Dibiasky embodies the classic hit-job women often experience when they have discoveries and make valuable contributions that organizational psychologist and Wharton professor Adam Grant posts about regularly on social media. “When men get mad, they’re commended as strong leaders. When women get angry, they’re condemned as aggressive bitches.” Or how about, “When men raise ideas, they’re respected as leaders. When women voice ideas, they’re often ignored.”

As thrilled as we are to have a female president, Janie Orlean, played by Meryl Streep, represents how a crisis would unfold under the leadership of a female Donald Trump (Marjorie Taylor Greene?!). LOL. All joking aside, the unfortunate reality is that power tends to warp good judgement, no matter what the gender. Nobel laureate Daniel Khaneman explains this ruinous flaw in his book Noise, A Flaw in Human Judgement.

On the other end of the spectrum is Dr. Teddy Oglethorpe, Rob Morgan, NASA’s head of the Planetary Defense Coordination Office. Teddy models excellent leadership behavior in the film, providing viewers with a baseline of what real leadership looks like, which helps to underscore the deficiencies of President Orlean, ridiculous Peter Isherwell played by Mark Rylance,  (I kept wondering if he was a heartless hologram), and General Themes, Paul Guilfoyle, who was apparently trying to make up for all the grifter defense contractors who deceptively invoice the military with padded bills like the $435 hammer. (Kate couldn’t get over that the General had charged them for what were supposed to be free snacks and water.) 

As always, Jonah Hill was amazing. I wouldn’t have wanted him to play the President’s son, a male Ivanka, I mean Jason Orlean, any other way. I can’t help but wonder if Peter Brand in Moneyball, played by Johah Hill, and Peter’s genius idea, is the type of solution we need to uncover to solve the climate crisis. (Make sure to keep watching beyond the credits to see Jason’s P.S. to the world. Haha.)

I found that I was the one who laughed the most in the theater. I’m sure I was the one who cried the most, too. The majority in my millennial and Gen-Z audience seemed to be processing the significance of what the film was conveying and appeared too stunned to know what to do. We all seemed to be connecting with what Greta had warned us about. “I don’t want you to be hopeful. I want you to panic.” And there Dr. Randall Mindy (Leonardo DiCaprio) was, panicking. And suddenly, so were we. (I had to look this up, because I was so curious about how a star’s acting could actually make me feel an extreme emotion like panic. It’s called the chameleon effect. But seriously, see if you don’t physically feel “pit in your stomach” panicked when you watch Randall panic. Trust me, you will.)

I have to admit that I too was glad they cut Randall’s beard when they were preparing him for his whirlwind media blitz.

Sadly, the double ending (plus Jason’s P.S.) made sense. Most of us speculated as much on social media when Jeff Bezos lifted-off for his test flight to outer space this past summer while in the middle of unprecedented heatwaves and out of control wildfires. 

As I exited the theater, and in the days that have followed, I couldn’t help but imagine a different kind of outcome for our real climate crisis. The kind of ending that becomes a new beginning with millions, and billions of us following the lead of Leonardo DiCaprio in the Revenant, clawing our way back to our original paradisiacal earth, this after being left for dead along the edge of a cliff by the extreme capitalists and billionaires who are busy trying to profit off our planet’s death spiral just the way Mark Rylance did in Don’t Look Up.  

Leonardo DiCaprio has been a global leader and environmentalist supporting biodiversity and rewilding the world since 1998, particularly for marginalized groups, such as the Waorani People of the Amazon and the ICCN in Virunga National Park. DiCaprio’s philanthropy aligns with Sir David AttenboroughJohan RockströmJane Goodall and multiple others who are urgently promoting rewilding. 

So yes, imagining the better conclusion that Sir David Attenborough spoke of at COP26 in November 2021 when he said, “If working apart we are a force powerful enough to destabilize our planet, surely working together we are powerful enough to save it.” Attenborough went on to assure his audience in Glasgow, “In my lifetime, I’ve witnessed a terrible decline. In yours, you could and should witness a wonderful recovery.”

That’s the brilliance of Don’t Look Up. The craftsmanship of subliminally showing us what we don’t want to have happen within the next decade, which opens our eyes to the natural path leading in the opposite direction.

Whether it’s Dr. Randall Mindy, Hugh Glass from the Revenant, or the real Leonardo DiCaprio of Appian Way Productions and the Leonardo DiCaprio FoundationDon’t Look Up adeptly inspires viewers to reach for a better path forward. (Note to self, it’s rather extraordinary that one actor can play the two dissimilar roles of Dr. Randall Mindy and Hugh Glass to such excellence. Looking forward to seeing what DiCaprio does with Jim Jones.) 

And although we may have panicked when Randall panicked, we don’t have to calmly accept annihilation the way Randall, Kate, Teddy, Yule and Randall’s wife and two sons did. Rather, let’s Hugh Glass ourselves and reach and stretch and claw our way back to civilization by rewilding our local communities so that we can have the happily ever after outcome the majority of us want so desperately. 

“We really did have everything, didn’t we? I mean when you think about it…”

Yes, Dr. Mindy, we really did. Let’s get it back while we still have time.

Don’t Look Up is the entertainment world’s Code Red for Humanity. An urgent warning for those who may have missed the 2021 IPCC Report Report, or forgot to read the Paris Agreement. We only have a few short years to stay below 1.5ºC. We must return to the Garden of Eden. Let’s reach this blissful destination within the next ten years, rather than 22,740 years.❃

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Must Rebuild with Clean Energy After Climate Disaster

Washington (GGM) Analysis | December 14, 2021, by Noreen Wise, Founder & CEO of Gallant Gold Media, and author 

The unprecedented thunderstorm supercell that struck the US on December 10, 2021, churned a long path of destruction across eight states (Arkansas, Mississippi, Missouri, Tennessee, Kentucky, Illinois, Indiana and Ohio), leveling towns, sending debris 30,000 feet in the air and resulting in more than 100 deaths. In an interview with Democracy Now, Michael E. Mann, Lead Climate Scientist, confirmed that wind speeds in Mayfield, Kentucky reached a staggering 300 mph.

“This isn’t a natural disaster. This is a disaster that was exacerbated by human caused climate change.”

Michael E. Mann, author of The New Climate War
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Thousands of buildings were destroyed in those dark, turbulent hours Friday night.

Dr. Mann went on to explain in his Democracy Now interview how this powerful supercell was formed. A combination of two main “ingredients” that were added to La Nina:

  1. Very warm gulf waters brought on by human caused climate change, that resulted in a large amount of moisture that evaporated and spread into the United States.
  2. Jet stream spin.

Dr. Mann’s unique perspective and extensive experience provides valuable insights for all of us as we try and grapple with our new reality. He ended his interview with Democracy Now on a positive note, emphasizing how important it is to stay below 1.5ºC. “Carbon emissions have peaked. They’re not going up. And that’s a good sign. We’ve got to bring them down, though. And we’ve got to do that quickly.”

“In the midst of chaos, there is opportunity.” 

—Sun Tzu

FEMA announced over the weekend that President Biden approved an Emergency Declaration for Kentucky and that direct federal assistance would be provided at 75% federal funding. 

As Mayfield and other towns throughout the eight states begin to pick up the pieces and plan their rebirth, it’s vitally important that they rebuild using a Green Plan. Legislation should be passed to this effect, or at the very least President Biden should establish an Emergency Ordinance requiring that states that are using federal emergency funds include the installation of clean energy when rebuilding. 

For example, California was the first state to pass a solar mandate, requiring that all new single family homes and multi-family dwellings up to three stories be powered by solar. The California solar mandate building code went into effect January 1, 2020.

Mayfield, more than any other town in these seven red states, knows first-hand how powerful and devastating climate change storms are. And Dr. Mann emphasized how vitally important it is to cut emissions quickly, very quickly, to stay below 1.5ºC. Installing clean energy in thousands of new buildings destroyed during this traumatic climate change disaster will aid us in this effort.

Following the Hurricane Katrina disaster in 2005 and the Greensburg, Kansas tornado of 2007, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), and the Energy Efficiency & Renewable  Energy (EERE) put together 20-page guide to support communities following a disaster. Rebuilding After Disaster, Going Green from the Ground Up.

7 Steps to Creating a Green Recovery Plan:

  1. Identify and bring together stakeholders
  2. Choose your leaders
  3. Visualize and capture the vision
  4. Get the Lay of the Land
  5. Set your goals
  6. Find the Funds
  7. Write the Plan

More robust economic development. When you make the commitment to greener choices in all sectors of your community, economic opportunities can follow. Green recovery can set a new focal point for economic development, place emphasis on new green-collar jobs, and improve your community’s image, which in turn, can attract businesses and residents. 

Rebuilding After Disaster, Going Green from the Ground Up

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No rose without thorns. —French Proverb.
Groundbreaking YA book series for all ages. Gripping modern day nail-biter with Machiavellian villains, but also a tale that opens our eyes to the brutal war going on beneath our feet that controls our destiny, despite our obliviousness to this potentially civilization-destroying threat.

Subscribe to Force of Nature to stay connected to the insights we provide in our effort to accelerate the transition to a sustainable, eco-friendly, carbon neutral global community. Click here to subscribe.

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