GPS Observations of Medium-Scale Traveling Ionospheric Disturbances over New Zealand

Monday, 15 December 2014
Yuichi Otsuka1, Chulhyo Lee2, Kazuo Shiokawa1, Takuya Tsugawa3 and Michi Nishioka3, (1)Nagoya University, Solar terrestrial Environment Laboratory, Nagoya, Japan, (2)Graduated from Nagoya University, Nagoya, Japan, (3)NICT National Institute of Information and Communications Technology, Tokyo, Japan
Using the GPS data obtained from dual-frequency GPS receivers in New Zealand, we have made two-dimensional maps of total electron content (TEC) in 2012 in order to reveal statistical characteristics of MSTIDs at mid-latitudes in southern hemisphere. As of 2012, approximately 40 GPS receivers are in operation in New Zealand. We found that most of the MSITDs over New Zealand propagate northwestward during nighttime in summer and northeastward during daytime in winter. The propagation direction of the nighttime MSTIDs is consistent with the theory that polarization electric fields play an important role in the generating MSTIDs. Because the daytime MSTIDs propagate equatorward, we can speculate that they could be caused by atmospheric gravity waves in the thermosphere. The propagation direction of the daytime MSTIDs also has an eastward component in addition to the equatorward component. This feature is consistent with the daytime MSTIDs observed at mid-latitudes in both northern and southern hemispheres. By carrying out model calculations, we have shown that the eastward component of the MSTID propagation direction during daytime is attributed to an interaction of gravity waves to the background neutral winds. Because most of the daytime MSTIDs appear before 14 LT, the background neutral winds could blow westward. According to the dispersion relation for atmospheric gravity waves, vertical wavelength of the gravity waves becomes larger when the gravity wave propagates in the direction opposite to the background winds. Consequently, the gravity waves having an eastward component of the propagation direction could cause larger amplitude of TEC variations compared to the gravity waves propagating westward. This could be a reason why the propagation direction of the dime MSTIDs has an eastward component.