Wavenumber-4 Structure in COSMIC-2 Observations: Vertical Plane Perspective

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High-rate radio occultation (RO) in COSMIC-2 (FORMOSAT7) enables us to investigate the finer details of the ionosphere owing to the measurements being made at a significantly high spatiotemporal resolution, which was unthinkable a decade ago. In the vertical plane, local-time ionospheric wavenumber-4 (WN4) structures display tilted phase-fronts over the equatorial ionization anomaly (EIA) belt. The longitudinal extent of a tilted WN4 phase-front approximates the zonal wavelength of nonmigrating DE3 tide in the local-time frame of reference, i.e., ~900. The WN4-filtered (residual) component indicates a greater tilt (when visible), with a larger longitudinal extent of a wavenumber structure in the vertical plane. The WN4 structure over the EIA crest region is found to be out of phase (in phase) with respect to that over the EIA trough region during daytime (nighttime), which also depended on the altitude under consideration. Intriguingly, above 400 km, the WN4 structures in the EIA crest and trough regions are seen to be in phase with each other at all local times. The phenomenon of the “longitudinal co-location” of WN4 over the EIA crest and trough regions at altitudes above ~400 km at all local times remains unexplained. Results also highlight that the formation of WN4 is governed by a complex interplay of direct forcing of nonmigrating tides and the zonal electric field whose characteristics within the EIA belt vary drastically with latitude and altitude under consideration.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2105
JournalRemote Sensing
Issue number8
StatePublished - Apr 2023


  • COSMIC-2 radio occultation
  • nonmigrating tides
  • wavenumber-4 structure


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