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Topside ionospheric irregularities as seen from multisatellite observations

Abstract : We use in situ data from CHAMP and DMSP satellites, along with data of GPS receiver onboard CHAMP satellite and ground-based GPS receivers to study the occurrence and global distribution of ionospheric irregularities during the main phase of the geomagnetic storm of 29–31 August 2004 (minimum Dst excursion of À128 nT). Using the CHAMP GPS measurements, we created maps of GPS phase fluctuation activity and found two specific zones of the most intense irregularities: (1) the region of the auroral oval at high latitudes of both hemispheres and (2) the low latitudes/equatorial region between Africa and South America. At high latitudes, the topside ionospheric irregularities appeared to be more intensive in the southern hemisphere, which is, most likely, due to seasonal variations in the interhemispheric field-aligned currents system. An analysis of multi-instrumental observations reveals reinforcement of the equatorial ionization anomaly after sunset in Atlantic sector on 30 August and formation of the significant plasma depletions and irregularities over a large longitudinal range. Equatorial irregularities were also found in the morning sector at the recovery phase of the storm. In addition to low Earth orbit (LEO) GPS measurements, we analyze the LEO in situ measurements, and we show that these two techniques cannot be interchangeable in all cases because of the altitudinal extent of plasma irregularities. Overall, we demonstrate that the LEO GPS technique can serve a useful tool for detection of the topside ionospheric irregularities during space weather events and may essentially contribute to other methods based on various instruments.
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Irina Zakharenkova, Elvira Astafyeva. Topside ionospheric irregularities as seen from multisatellite observations. Journal of Geophysical Research Space Physics, American Geophysical Union/Wiley, 2015, 120 (1), pp.807-824. ⟨10.1002/2014JA020330⟩. ⟨insu-01514639⟩

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