Space Weather Studies Using the Low-Latitude Ionospheric Sensor Network (LISN)

Wednesday, 17 December 2014
Edgardo Pacheco, Jicamarca Radio Observatory, Lima, Peru and Cesar E Valladares, Boston College, Chestnut Hill, MA, United States
LISN is an array of small instruments that operates as a real-time distributed observatory to understand the complex day-to-day variability and the extreme state of disturbance that occurs in the South American low-latitude ionosphere nearly every day after sunset. The LISN observatory aims to forecast the initiation and transport of plasma bubbles across the South American continent. The occurrence of this type of plasma structures and their embedded irregularities poses a prominent natural hazard to communication, navigation and high precision pointing systems. As commercial and military aviation is increasingly reliant on Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS) any interruption due to ionospheric irregularities or errors due to large density gradients constitutes a serious threat to passengers and crew. Therefore, it is important to understand the conditions and sources that contribute to the formation of these irregularities. To achieve high quality regional nowcasts and forecasts, the LISN system was designed to include a dense coverage of the South American landmass with 47 GPS receivers, 5 flux-gate magnetometers distributed on 2 base lines and 3 Vertical Incidence Pulsed Ionospheric Radar (VIPIR) ionosondes deployed along the same magnetic meridian that intersects the magnetic equator at 68° W. This presentation will provide a summary of recent instrument installations and new processing techniques that have been developed under the LISN project. We will also present the results of recent efforts to detect TIDs and TEC plasma depletions on a near real-time basis. We will describe a method to estimate the zonal velocity and tilt of the plasma bubbles/depletions by combining observations of TEC depletions acquired with adjacent receivers, making it possible to predict precisely their future locations.