Global S4 index variations observed using FORMOSAT-3/ COSMIC GPS RO technique during a solar minimum year

P. S. Brahmanandam, G. Uma, J. Y. Liu, Y. H. Chu, N. S.M.P.Latha Devi, Y. Kakinami

研究成果: 雜誌貢獻期刊論文同行評審

70 引文 斯高帕斯(Scopus)


In this paper, presented for the first time the three-dimensional global morphology and seasonal variations of scintillation index (S4 index) measured from the signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) intensity fluctuations of L1 channel of GPS radio occultation (RO) signals using FORMOSAT-3/COSMIC (in short, F3/C) satellites for a low solar activity year 2008. The S4 index, which confined around ±30 ° magnetic latitudes, is found to start around post-sunset hours (1900 MLT, magnetic local time) and often persists till post-midnight hours (0300 MLT) between 150 and 350 km altitudes during equinox and northern winter seasons while no activity is observed during southern winter season. However, high latitudes are characterized with no scintillation activity beyond 150 km during any season, which implying that in the solar minimum period the drives of instabilities in the auroral, cusp and polar cap regions, namely the gradient drift and velocity shear, are absent. The S4 index at F region altitudes during magnetically quiet times is more intense and extends to higher latitudes than that observed during disturbed time consistent with earlier studies. The equatorial S4 index appears below the peak of F2 layer (hmF2) during most of the seasons although the associated intensities and the time of maximum occurrences are relatively higher and earlier during vernal equinox followed by autumn equinox. This equinoctial asymmetry could be primarily attributed to the asymmetries in eastward drift velocities, thermospheric meridional winds and plasma densities. Further, the global maps of S4 index at E region altitudes (between 75 and 125 km) show strong seasonal variations with highest activity during northern and southern summer solstice in the middle latitudes while it appears on both sides of magnetic equator with less or no activity at and around the equator during equinox seasons. The absence of S4 index along the equator can be understood in terms of the vanishing vertical component of the magnetic field lines that can inhibit the vertical movement and layered deposition of ionized particles of thin irregular electron density layers such as Es-layers. Keeping in view the importance of these valuable database, we would like to emphasize that the F3/C GPS RO technique can be used to study the ionospheric irregularities at GHz frequency globally directly from the high-rate L1 data, which reiterating its importance as a powerful tool to explore the terrestrial ionosphere on a global scale.

期刊Journal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics
出版狀態已出版 - 2012


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