El Niño has effects all the way to the edge of the atmosphere.

Claire Raftery 0 2733
-- December 16, 2015

The warm El Niño conditions affecting weather around the Pacific Ocean are also affecting conditions in space, according to University of California, Berkeley scientists.

El Niño is commonly observed as a global change in rainfall due to changes in temperature in the Pacific Ocean. However, UC Berkeley scientists report today at the annual meeting of the American Geophysical Union meeting in San Francisco that the processes that lead to increased precipitation are also driving unexpected changes in the ionosphere, the uppermost level of the atmosphere.

The findings (AGU abstract #SA31F-2383) will be presented by Dr. Thomas Immel, and are based on calculations by Dr. Astrid Maute of the High Altitude Observatory in Boulder, Colorado.

“We expected that we would see some changes in the ionosphere when we started this study” says Dr. Immel, a Senior Fellow at UC Berkeley’s Space Sciences Laboratory, “but we were shocked at how strong the effect has turned out to be”.

MIGHTI undergoing pre-flight vibration testing

Igor Ruderman 0 886
The MIGHTI FMA sensor is currently going through proto-flight vibration testing. FMB completed testing 2 weeks ago. Final optical tests will be performed after vibration then both A and B will be packed up and shipped to Space Dynamics Laboratory (SDL) in Logan Utah on December 9, 2015. Once at SDL it will go through Thermal Vacuum and Calibration activities prior to delivery to ICON at the end of January 2016.
ICON skin is based on Greytness by Adammer
Background image, courtesy of NASA, is a derivitave of photograph taken by D. Pettit from the ISS, used under Creative Commons license