Tonga Volcanic Effects Data Online

Neutral winds and plasma velocities online, FUV ion density profiles now processing.

Dr. Thomas Immel 0 55

The January 2022 Tonga volcanic eruption produced some clear and remarkable effects in space that ICON saw directly. The new plasma drift data (Level 2.7 IVM v6)  and thermospheric wind and temperature data (Level 2.2, 2.3 MIGHTI v5) are on the ICON public FTP site for this event. The EUV instrument was not on, but FUV was, and we are currently completing the processing of FUV L1 data (which will be at v05 when they are published) to use in retrieval of both thermospheric composition and nighttime plasma density profiles for this event.

NASA Mission Finds Tonga Volcanic Eruption Effects Reached Space

Karin Hauck 0 108

[by Mara Johnson-Groh NASA] When the Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha‘apai volcano erupted on Jan. 15, 2022, it sent atmospheric shock waves, sonic booms, and tsunami waves around the world. Now, scientists are finding the volcano’s effects also reached space.

Analyzing data from NASA’s Ionospheric Connection Explorer, or ICON, mission and ESA’s (the European Space Agency) Swarm satellites, scientists found that in the hours after the eruption, hurricane-speed winds and unusual electric currents formed in the ionosphere – Earth’s electrified upper atmospheric layer at the edge of space.

“The volcano created one of the largest disturbances in space we’ve seen in the modern era,” said Brian Harding, a physicist at University of California, Berkeley, and lead author on a new paper discussing the findings. “It is allowing us to test the poorly understood connection between the lower atmosphere and space.”

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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