NASA Mission Finds Tonga Volcanic Eruption Effects Reached Space

Karin Hauck 0 68

[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.”

IVM reprocessed for 2020 - 2021

Includes every day with a conjugate maneuver

Dr. Thomas Immel 0 265

A number of IVM data are reprocessed on days between Feb 7, 2020 and Dec 22, 2021 where conjugate observation periods are present. The long list of these data is noted below. This correctly flags the IVM data mid-manuever to be good. It is recommended that if one is interested in data obtained during these short periods of time that you work with the latest revision of the data where the data quality flag is correct. Watch for timestamps reflecting the reprocessing date in February 2022 and an increase in the revision number over previously available data. Zip files containing these data will be published by Feb 14.

TIEGCM Model for 2020, 2021 now available

Model runs informed by HME product

Dr. Thomas Immel 0 235

TIEGCM model runs that incorporate the MIGHTI measurements of winds and temperatures are now available on the ICON FTP site. These are run using lower-boundary forcing from the ICON Hough Mode Extension 4.1 product. They are available from Jan 2020 to August 2021, with more to come following the continued production of the 4.1 product.

The zipped NetCDFs are available here.

The Documentation for the TIEGCM 2.0 model is available from the NCAR/HAO site.

Strong Winds Power Electric Fields in the Upper Atmosphere, NASA’s ICON Finds

Karin Hauck 0 233

[NASA Feature by Lina Tran on Nov 29 2021]

What happens on Earth doesn’t stay on Earth.

Using observations from NASA’s ICON mission, scientists presented the first direct measurements of Earth’s long-theorized dynamo on the edge of space: a wind-driven electrical generator that spans the globe 60-plus miles above our heads. The dynamo churns in the ionosphere, the electrically charged boundary between Earth and space. It’s powered by tidal winds in the upper atmosphere that are faster than most hurricanes and rise from the lower atmosphere, creating an electrical environment that can affect satellites and technology on Earth.

The new work, published [Nov 29 2021] in Nature Geoscience, improves our understanding of the ionosphere, which helps scientists better predict space weather and protect our technology from its effects.

 

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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