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posted by martyb on Monday January 17, @03:15PM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the bada-BOOM! dept.

Military flights sent to assess damage from Pacific volcano:

New Zealand and Australia were able to send military surveillance flights to Tonga on Monday to assess the damage a huge undersea volcanic eruption left in the Pacific island nation.

A towering ash cloud since Saturday's eruption had prevented earlier flights. New Zealand hopes to send essential supplies, including much-needed drinking water, on a military transport plane later Monday.

Communications with Tonga remained extremely limited. The company that owns the single underwater communications cable that connects the island nation to the rest of the world said it likely was severed in the eruption and repairs could take weeks.

The loss of the cable leaves most Tongans unable to use the internet or make phone calls abroad. Those that have managed to get messages out described their country as looking like a moonscape as they began cleaning up from the tsunami waves and volcanic ash fall.

Tsunami waves of about 80 centimeters (2.7 feet) crashed into Tonga's shoreline, and New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern described damage to boats and coastal shops.

No casualties have been reported on Tonga, although there were still concerns about people on some of the smaller islands near the volcano. The tsunami waves crossed the Pacific, drowning two people in Peru and causing minor damage from New Zealand to Santa Cruz, California.

Scientists said they didn't think the eruption would have a significant impact on the Earth's climate.

Huge volcanic eruptions can sometimes cause temporary global cooling as sulfur dioxide is pumped into the stratosphere. But in the case of the Tonga eruption, initial satellite measurements indicated the amount of sulfur dioxide released would only have a tiny effect of perhaps 0.01 Celsius (0.02 Fahrenheit) global average cooling, said Alan Robock, a professor at Rutgers University.

Satellite images showed the spectacular undersea eruption Saturday evening, with a plume of ash, steam and gas rising like a giant mushroom above the South Pacific waters.

A sonic boom could be heard as far away as Alaska and sent pressure shockwaves around the planet twice, altering atmospheric pressure that may have briefly helped clear out the fog in Seattle, according to the National Weather Service. Large waves were detected as far as the Caribbean due to pressure changes generated by the eruption.


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  • (Score: 5, Informative) by crafoo on Monday January 17, @05:08PM

    by crafoo (6639) on Monday January 17, @05:08PM (#1213413)

    Scott Manley has a fun video showing satellite footage of the eruption and the shockwave as it is measured at weather stations across the globe. Really cool.

    https://odysee.com/@ScottManley:5/volcanic-eruption-may-be-biggest-ever:1?r=2F7xwm1JKgnEH4CScTodT3Nez6z4w5xz&t=190 [odysee.com]

  • (Score: 2, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 17, @05:32PM (16 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 17, @05:32PM (#1213424)

    Usually this is where ham/amateur radio shines. But maybe there aren't any hams on Tonga?

    • (Score: -1, Troll) by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 17, @05:57PM (4 children)

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 17, @05:57PM (#1213433)

      Ham radios are not lovely, wonderful cell phones so they were recycled with all of the other old stuff. Recycling old stuff is good for the planet.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 17, @06:35PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 17, @06:35PM (#1213437)

        Next you will be recycling the hams into soylent green...

      • (Score: 2) by DannyB on Monday January 17, @06:59PM (2 children)

        by DannyB (5839) Subscriber Badge on Monday January 17, @06:59PM (#1213442) Journal

        Could SDR breathe new life into hams?

        --
        Out of control 3 yr old grabs steering wheel of limosuine and throws food against wall in temper tantrum.
        • (Score: 2) by takyon on Monday January 17, @07:31PM

          by takyon (881) <{takyon} {at} {soylentnews.org}> on Monday January 17, @07:31PM (#1213452) Journal

          If it can't, nothing will.

          --
          [SIG] 10/28/2017: Soylent Upgrade v14 [soylentnews.org]
        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 18, @03:47AM

          by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 18, @03:47AM (#1213525)

          SDR doesn't solve the problem of needing transmission hardware. Low-power sub-Ghz seems to be more popular in the SDR space, probably because of crypto-stuff like Helium.

    • (Score: 1, Troll) by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 17, @07:20PM (8 children)

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 17, @07:20PM (#1213449)

      Can you exchange Bitcoin over ham radio? I'm aware of AMPRNet, and I suppose IPoAC could work if you had enough carrier pigeons around, but I wonder if you could actually exchange Bitcoin under current conditions on Tonga.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 17, @08:53PM (7 children)

        by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 17, @08:53PM (#1213470)

        No. "Pecuniary interests" are forbidden by law.

        It's very easy to do (I'd do QR codes over SSTV, rather than do brick-sized-dildo Internet protocols). But what would happen if every brain-wormed Internet cripple discovered a need to do it...

        Amateur Radio is a privilege provided by Governments to the very fragile radio frequencies, with a history involving war, espionage, and anti-social behavior going back over a century. (When the Titanic sunk, Trolls were impersonating survivors.. A few years later, Licencing was introduced to have a framework for removing such operators from the air).

        Also, the King of Tonga won't be very happy if you side-step his income from taxing remittances. (Family sending money 'home' is Tonga's greatest source of revenue-- it's too corrupt to have a healthy economy.)

        • (Score: 1, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 17, @10:48PM (3 children)

          by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 17, @10:48PM (#1213484)

          > When the Titanic sunk, Trolls were impersonating survivors.

          Had not heard this before, just googled with no luck. Do you have a reference for these ~100 year old Trolls?

        • (Score: 1, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 18, @06:17AM (2 children)

          by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 18, @06:17AM (#1213538)

          Thank you for the answer. Although my question was labelled as a troll, I was honestly curious about it.

          Seems this isn't the place for honest curiosity anymore, so I shall desist from further inquiry.

          • (Score: -1, Flamebait) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 18, @07:35AM

            by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 18, @07:35AM (#1213541)

            You got a downmod, poor you.

          • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 18, @01:51PM

            by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 18, @01:51PM (#1213569)

            I gave you an underrated +1, original mod was clearly wrong--questions are welcome here (imo).

    • (Score: 3, Informative) by Thexalon on Monday January 17, @10:53PM

      by Thexalon (636) on Monday January 17, @10:53PM (#1213486)

      If you figure about 1 ham radio operator per 10,000 people (which seems pretty typical among countries that allow them), that means there are maybe 10 of them on Tonga. And you have to factor in that they might not be able to transmit under the conditions they're in, because there are probably electrical grid problems. And they might have portable handset radios, but assuming those weren't lost or destroyed in the disaster, a lot of those rely on repeaters, and the repeaters might be non-functional right now.

      So while they might help, I'm not surprised if they can't solve everything.

      --
      Alcohol makes the world go round ... and round and round.
    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 18, @04:54AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 18, @04:54AM (#1213531)

      Marine radio users and equipment are also a thing.

  • (Score: 4, Informative) by choose another one on Monday January 17, @05:47PM (3 children)

    by choose another one (515) Subscriber Badge on Monday January 17, @05:47PM (#1213427)

    Various UK media already reporting one British person confirmed dead, not just missing.

    Given the known comms difficulties and the usual ratio of brits / local that actually get reported here, that probably translates to local casualties in the hundreds if not higher.

    There are some reasons to be more optimistic though, the British casualty was reported to have been "walking on the beach" after posting on Instathingy about tsunami warnings and how eerily quiet it was... I make no further comment, words kind of fail me.

    • (Score: 2) by cmdrklarg on Monday January 17, @07:05PM

      by cmdrklarg (5048) Subscriber Badge on Monday January 17, @07:05PM (#1213445)

      oof da... that's a special kind of stupid there. Hopefully it was a successful Darwin award winner.

      --
      Answer now is don't give in; aim for a new tomorrow.
    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 17, @09:19PM (1 child)

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 17, @09:19PM (#1213474)

      Sigh... this same kind of thing happened in 2011, although it was not so stupid; just ignorant. Believing the event was over, a man took a walk on the beach and was swept out and killed. We need to do a better job maybe, of educating people that it's not a singular event. It's a period where tsunami is a danger until the warning is called off, with multiple waves. He saw the first one and thought that was it.

      When 2011 happened some people asked me if I was going to visit the coast and watch it. Hard no. As cool as it would be to see, it's just not worth it and I didn't need to be anywhere near an evacuation zone. On the flip side of this, there was some wild over-precaution. People jammed skyline drive in San Mateo County, CA which is over 1000 ft. above sea level, LOL. I think some of them were just hoping to get views through binoculars though.

      • (Score: 2) by Thexalon on Monday January 17, @11:12PM

        by Thexalon (636) on Monday January 17, @11:12PM (#1213491)

        The instinct to just want to see what's going on overriding self-preservation seems to be a recurring problem. For instance, after the Boston Marathon bombing, the cops had tracked down the perpetrators and were engaging them in a fairly intense gun-fight, but they almost had to stop shooting because of idiots leaning out of their windows trying to get good video of the event on their cell phone.

        --
        Alcohol makes the world go round ... and round and round.
  • (Score: 1, Funny) by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 17, @08:49PM (2 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 17, @08:49PM (#1213469)

    Is the coverage is down there sufficient to help out?

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 18, @12:49AM (1 child)

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 18, @12:49AM (#1213506)

      Ash cloud might be a problem.

      • (Score: 1) by pTamok on Tuesday January 18, @08:10AM

        by pTamok (3042) on Tuesday January 18, @08:10AM (#1213543)

        Ash cloud is a problem for signal propagation, which could well be affecting both satellite and ham radio frequencies. Also, airport runway covered in ash. I suspect a prop-driven seaplane or a parachute drop might be the fastest way of getting personnel and/or materials on site.
        Another issue is that Tonga is/was relatively Covid-free, so they don't want to import an epidemic with the aid.
        Ship with drinking water and desalination plant on its way, but won't be there for days.

        Underlines the need for disaster-preparedness planning. I hope the Tongan people can cope.

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