Connecting Stratospheric and Ionospheric Anomalies

Friday, 19 December 2014
Mary Elizabeth Spraggs1,2, Larisa P Goncharenko3, Shunrong Zhang1, Anthea J Coster1 and Leonid V Benkevitch1, (1)MIT Haystack Observatory, Westford, MA, United States, (2)Western Kentucky University, Physics and Astronomy, Bowling Green, KY, United States, (3)Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA, United States
This study investigates any relationship between lunar phases and ionospheric anomalies that appear at low latitudes concurrently with sudden stratospheric warmings (SSWs). The study utilizes World-wide GPS Receiver Network Total Electron Content (TEC) data spanning 13 years (2001-2014) and focuses on the changes in the equatorial ionization anomaly the Western hemisphere. TEC is highly variable due to the influences of solar flux, geomagnetic activity, and seasonal variation and these influences are removed by the use of model. This empirical TEC model is a combination of linear dependencies of solar flux (F10.7) and geomagnetic activity (Ap3) with a third degree polynomial dependency for day-of-year (DOY). With such dependencies removed, the remaining TEC variation could be resolved and attributed to an appropriate mechanism. Lunar phase and apside was investigated in particular, especially the new and full moon phases during perigees when tidal forcing would be most powerful. Lunar tidal forcing on planetary waves is also examined as being physically responsible for setting up conditions that may give rise to SSWs and ionospheric anomalies. Preliminary results suggest that such anomalies may be enhanced in intensity during the full or new moon and even more so during perigee by different amounts depending on whether the SSW is a major (40-60%) or minor (20-45%) event.