Detection of the Equatorial Ionospheric Irregularities Using the POD GPS Measurements

Tuesday, 15 December 2015: 09:24
2016 (Moscone West)
Irina Zakharenkova1, Elvira Astafyeva1 and Iurii Cherniak2, (1)Institut de Physique du Globe de Paris, Paris, France, (2)Institute of Geophysics Ukraine, Kiev, Ukraine
By making use of GPS measurements from Precise Orbit Determination (POD) GPS antenna onboard Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellites we present results of the equatorial irregularities/plasma bubbles detection. For a given research we use data from a multi-satellite constellation consisting of the three Swarm satellites and the TerraSAR-X satellite. The major advantage of such LEO constellation is rather similar orbit altitude of ~500 km. The GPS-based indices, characterizing the occurrence and the strength of the ionospheric irregularities, were derived from the LEO GPS observations of a zenith-looking onboard GPS antenna. To study GPS fluctuation activity at the topside equatorial ionosphere we used TEC-based indices ROT (rate of TEC change) and ROTI (rate of TEC Index), proposed by Pi et al. (1997). We demonstrate a successful implementation of this technique for several case studies of the equatorial plasma bubbles occurrence in the post-midnight and morning LT hours during the year 2014. The ionospheric irregularities detected with GPS technique in Swarm/TerrasSAR-X data are consistent with the in situ plasma density variations registered by the three Swarm satellites (PLP measurements), as well as by three DMSP satellites at ~840 km orbital height, which indicate a large altitudinal extent of the observed phenomenon. Also we analyzed the global/seasonal distribution of the ionospheric irregularities at the topside equatorial region caused the phase fluctuations in GPS measurements onboard LEO satellite. We demonstrate that ROT/ROTI technique can be applied to LEO GPS data for geomagnetically quiet and disturbed conditions, as well as detection of the storm-induced equatorial irregularities in the morning local time.