Detection of the Equatorial Ionospheric Irregularities Using the POD GPS Measurements
Tuesday, 15 December 2015: 09:24
2016 (Moscone West)
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.