Global sounding of F region irregularities by COSMIC during a geomagnetic storm

Klemens Hocke, Huixin Liu, Nicholas Pedatella, Guanyi Ma

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


We analyse reprocessed electron density profiles and total electron content (TEC) profiles of the ionosphere in September 2008 (around solar minimum) and September 2013 (around solar maximum) obtained by the Constellation Observing System for Meteorology, Ionosphere, and Climate (COSMIC/FORMOSAT-3). The TEC profiles describe the total electron content along the ray path from the GPS satellite to the low Earth orbit as function of the tangent point of the ray. Some of the profiles in the magnetic polar regions show small-scale fluctuations on spatial scales < 50 km. Possibly the trajectory of the tangent point intersects spatial electron density irregularities in the magnetic polar region. For derivation of the morphology of the electron density and TEC fluctuations, a 50 km high-pass filter is applied in the s domain, where s is the distance between a reference point (bottom tangent point) and the tangent point. For each profile, the mean of the fluctuations is calculated for tangent point altitudes between 400 and 500 km. At first glance, the global maps of 1Ne and 1TEC are quite similar. However, 1TEC might be more reliable since it is based on fewer retrieval assumptions. We find a significant difference if the arithmetic mean or the median is applied to the global map of September 2013. In agreement with literature, 1TEC is enhanced during the post-sunset rise of the equatorial ionosphere in September 2013, which is associated with spread F and equatorial plasma bubbles. The global map of 1TEC at solar maximum (September 2013) has stronger fluctuatios than those at solar minimum (September 2008).We obtained new results when we compare the global maps of the quiet phase and the storm phase of the geomagnetic storm of 15 July 2012. It is evident that the TEC fluctuations are increased and extended over the southern magnetic polar region at the day of the geomagnetic storm. The north-south asymmetry of the storm response is more pronounced in the upper ionosphere (ray tangent points hD400-500 km) thanin the lower ionosphere (ray tangent points hD200-300 km).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)235-242
Number of pages8
JournalAnnales Geophysicae
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Apr 16 2019

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Geology
  • Atmospheric Science
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Space and Planetary Science


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