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Open AccessArticle

Tomographic Imaging of Ionospheric Plasma Bubbles Based on GNSS and Radio Occultation Measurements

1
Department of Cartography, Universidade Estadual Paulista (UNESP), Presidente Prudente 19060-900, São Paulo, Brazil
2
Department of Mathematics, Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya—IOnospheric determination and Navigation based on Satellite and Terrestrial systems (UPC-IonSAT), E08034 Barcelona, Spain
3
Institut d’Estudis Espacials de Catalunya—Grup de Recerca en Ciències i Tecnologies de l’Espai (IEEC-CRAE-CTE), Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya (UPC), E08034 Barcelona, Spain
4
Laboratory of Physics and Astronomy, Institute of Research and Development (IP&D), Universidade do Vale do Paraíba (UNIVAP), São José dos Campos 12244-000, Brazil
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Remote Sens. 2018, 10(10), 1529; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs10101529
Received: 1 August 2018 / Revised: 9 September 2018 / Accepted: 12 September 2018 / Published: 23 September 2018
(This article belongs to the Section Atmosphere Remote Sensing)
Total electron content measurements given by the global navigation satellite system (GNSS) have successfully presented results to capture the signatures of equatorial plasma bubbles. In contrast, the correct reproduction of plasma depletions at electron density level is still a relevant challenge for ionospheric tomographic imaging. In this regard, this work shows the first results of a new tomographic reconstruction technique based on GNSS and radio-occultation data to map the vertical and horizontal distributions of ionospheric plasma bubbles in one of the most challenging conditions of the equatorial region. Twenty-three days from 2013 and 2014 with clear evidence of plasma bubble structures propagating through the Brazilian region were analyzed and compared with simultaneous observations of all-sky images in the 630.0 nm emission line of the atomic oxygen. The mean rate of success of the tomographic method was 37.1%, being more efficient near the magnetic equator, where the dimensions of the structures are larger. Despite some shortcomings of the reconstruction technique, mainly associated with ionospheric scintillations and the weak geometry of the ground-based GNSS receivers, both vertical and horizontal distributions were mapped over more than 30° in latitude, and have been detected in instances where the meteorological conditions disrupted the possibility of analyzing the OI 630 nm emissions. Therefore, the results revealed the proposed tomographic reconstruction as an efficient tool for mapping characteristics of the plasma bubble structures, which may have a special interest in Space Weather, Spatial Geodesy, and Telecommunications. View Full-Text
Keywords: equatorial ionosphere; plasma bubble detection; total electron content mapping; multiplicative algebraic reconstruction technique; optical imaging; 630.0 nm emission line equatorial ionosphere; plasma bubble detection; total electron content mapping; multiplicative algebraic reconstruction technique; optical imaging; 630.0 nm emission line
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MDPI and ACS Style

Dos Santos Prol, F.; Hernández-Pajares, M.; Tadeu de Assis Honorato Muella, M.; De Oliveira Camargo, P. Tomographic Imaging of Ionospheric Plasma Bubbles Based on GNSS and Radio Occultation Measurements. Remote Sens. 2018, 10, 1529.

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