Investigation of Tsunami-Ionospheric Coupling Efficiency

Wednesday, 17 December 2014
Matthew Grawe1, Daniel James Fisher1, Jonathan J Makela1, Pierdavide Coisson1,2, Lucie Rolland2,3, Virgile Rakoto2 and Philippe Henri Lognonne2, (1)University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign, Urbana, IL, United States, (2)Institut de Physique du Globe de Paris, Paris, France, (3)Los Alamos National Laboratory, Los Alamos, NM, United States
Recent studies have shown that coupling exists between ocean tsunamis and the upper atmosphere, opening up the possibility of tsunami monitoring through observing the ionosphere. Several measurement techniques have demonstrated the effects of this coupling in the ionosphere. Here, we present data from two techniques that allow for deducing properties of a tsunami from the ionosphere (e.g., wavelength, orientation, and velocity), namely total electron content (TEC) measurements from dual-frequency GPS receivers and ionospheric imaging through monitoring the airglow layers surrounding the earth. However, a quantitative relationship between the wave amplitudes observed in the ionosphere and the height of the tsunami remains elusive. Ionospheric signatures from two tsunamis in the Pacific Ocean, caused by the 2011 Tohoku and 2012 Haida Gwaii earthquakes, have been observed in airglow imaging systems and a network of dual-frequency GPS receivers located in Hawaii. These two events provide excellent test cases for the study of tsunami-ionospheric coupling efficiency, most notably the effects of the relative orientation between the tsunami-induced gravity waves and the Earth’s magnetic field. We present a quantitative comparison of the TEC and airglow intensity variation from these events, including results from tsunami normal mode summation modeling.