Global morphology of ionospheric sporadic E layer from the FormoSat-3/COSMIC GPS radio occultation experiment

Lung Chih Tsai, Shin Yi Su, Chao Han Liu, Harald Schuh, Jens Wickert, Mohamad Mahdi Alizadeh

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Ionospheric sporadic-E (Es) activity and global morphology were studied using the 50 Hz signal-to-noise ratio amplitude and excess phase measurements from the FormoSat-3/Constellation Observing System for Meteorology, Ionosphere and Climate (FS3/COSMIC) GPS radio occultation (RO) observations. The results are presented for data collected during the last sunspot cycle from mid-2006 to the end of 2017. The FS3/COSMIC generally performed more than 1000 complete E-region GPS RO observations per day, which were used to retrieve normalized L1-band amplitude standard deviation (SDL1) and relative electron density (Ne) profiles successfully. More or less 31% of those observations were identified as Es events based on SDL1 and peak SDL1 altitude criteria. We found that the peak Es-event i values are approximately proportional to the logarithms of the corresponding peak Ne differences. Five major geographical zones were identified, in which the seasonal and diurnal Es occurrence patterns are markedly different. These five zones include the geomagnetic equatorial zone (− 5° < magnetic latitude (ML) < 5°), two extended geomagnetic mid-latitude zones (15° < ML < 55°, and − 55° < ML < − 15°), and two auroral zones (70° < ML, and ML < − 70°). The Es climatology, namely its variations with each identified zone, altitude, season, and local time has been documented.

Original languageEnglish
Article number118
JournalGPS Solutions
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1 Oct 2018


  • FormoSat-3/COSMIC
  • Ionospheric Es layer
  • Ionospheric irregularity
  • Radio occultation observation


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