Scientists say they have confirmed the existence of “incredible” space hurricanes in the Earth’s upper atmosphere.

Scientists say they have confirmed the existence of incredible space hurricanes in the Earths upper atmosphere.
The unprecedented observations were made by satellites that enabled scientists to analyse a 600 mile wide swirling mass of plasma spotted hundreds of kilometres above the North Pole.
Scientists were able to create a 3D image of the hurricane, which was raining electrons instead of water, span in an anticlockwise direction and lasted nearly eight hours before breaking down.
The hurricanes would be expected to lead to important space weather effects and disruption to GPS systems, scientists found.
The team of researchers, led by Shandong University in China, analysed observations made by satellites in August 2014 and created a 3D image of the hurricane in the Earths ionosphere.
The findings, which were published in Nature Communications, confirmed the existence of space hurricanes, reproduced the events main features and explained its formation.
Professor Mike Lockwood, space scientist at the University of Reading, said the hurricanes could be a universal phenomena at planets and moons with magnetic fields and plasma.
He said: Until now, it was uncertain that space plasma hurricanes even existed, so to prove this with such a striking observation is incredible.
Nasa has marked Earth Day by releasing a series of stunning images of the Earth, including this one of the south polar ice cap, taken from the International Space Station,to raise awareness of global climate issues
This picture shows the Earth rise over the moon made on Christmas Eve, December 24, 1968 from Apollo 8, the first manned mission to the moon, as it entered lunar orbit
An image from space showing the aftermath of the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, on New York
Mt Everest, as seen from the International Space station
The Bahamas looks just as inviting when seen from space
A live volcano belches a plume of smoke into the sky
Meanwhile, this artist’s impression shows a new planet recently discovered by scientists. Planet E could look like this, orbited by a small moon and probably too close to its own star – and therefore too hot – to be able to sustain human life
Tropical storms are associated with huge amounts of energy, and these space hurricanes must be created by unusually large and rapid transfer of solar wind energy and charged particles into the Earths upper atmosphere.
Plasma and magnetic fields in the atmosphere of planets exist throughout the universe, so the findings suggest space hurricanes should be a widespread phenomena.
The space hurricane, which occurred during a period of low geomagnetic activity, was found to share many features with hurricanes in the Earths lower atmosphere, including a quiet centre, multiple spiral arms and widespread circulation.
The scientists said the hurricanes open a rapid energy transfer channel from space to the ionosphere and thermosphere and would be expected to lead to important space weather effects such as increased satellite drag, disturbances in high frequency radio communications and increased errors in over-the-horizon radar location, satellite navigation and communication systems.
Astronauts spacewalk outside the International Space Station
The team said the process may also be important for the interaction between interstellar winds and other solar systems throughout the universe.
Hurricanes have also been observed in the lower atmospheres of Mars, Jupiter and Saturn while large solar tornadoes have been seen in the atmosphere of the Sun.
But the existence of space hurricanes in the upper atmosphere of planets had not been detected before.
Additional reporting by PA Media.