Seen a stunning sunrise or sunset lately? The Tongan Volcano may be the cause
The Tongan volcanic eruption may be responsible for New Zealand’s unusually vibrant sunrises and sunsets, say NIWA scientists.
Since late May, NIWA’s forecasting team has been flooded with messages from members of the public across the country, enquiring about a strange but beautiful phenomenon – stunning, fiery colours in the sky, appearing just before or after the sun crosses the horizon.
To understand these sightings, the forecasting team contacted their colleagues at the Lauder Atmospheric Research Station in Central Otago, who confirmed that their ground-based LIDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) instrument has been detecting unusual spikes in aerosols in the stratosphere, at around 20-25 kilometres above New Zealand.