An Ionospheric Response to the 2013 Moore EF5 Tornad, Detected By High-Resolution GPS-TEC Observations

Monday, 15 December 2014: 2:40 PM
Minoru Kubota, Michi Nishioka, Takuya Tsugawa and Mamoru Ishii, Natl Inst Info & Commctn Tech, Tokyo, Japan
We observed clear concentric waves and short-period oscillations in the ionosphere after the EF5 tornado hit Moore, Oklahoma, USA, on 20 May 2013 using a dense wide-coverage ionospheric total electron content (TEC) observation in North America. These concentric waves were non-dispersive waves with a horizontal wavelength of ~120 km and a period of ~13 minutes. They were observed for more than seven hours throughout North America. TEC oscillations with a period of ~4 minutes were also observed in the south of Moore for more than eight hours. Comparison between the TEC observation and the infrared cloud image from the GOES satellite indicates that the concentric waves were caused by supercells rather than the tornados themselves. Backward ray-tracing analysis suggests that the leaking of atmospheric waves in a thermal duct excited AGWs in the ionosphere. The short-period TEC oscillation could be explained by the acoustic resonance triggered by strong long-lasting supercells. This observational result provides the first clear evidence of a severe meteorological event causing atmospheric waves propagating upward in the upper atmosphere and reaching the ionosphere.