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Open AccessArticle

GNSS Ionosphere Sounding of Equatorial Plasma Bubbles

1
National Astronomical Observatories, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100101, China
2
School of Astronomy and Space Science, University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China
3
Institute of Applied Physics and Oeschger Centre for Climate Change Research, University of Bern, Bern 3012, Switzerland
*
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Atmosphere 2019, 10(11), 676; https://doi.org/10.3390/atmos10110676
Received: 16 October 2019 / Revised: 29 October 2019 / Accepted: 31 October 2019 / Published: 2 November 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Coupling of Lower, Middle, and Upper Atmosphere)
Ground- and space-based Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) receivers can provide three-dimensional (3D) information about the occurrence of equatorial plasma bubbles (EPBs). For this study, we selected March 2014 data (during solar maximum of cycle 24) for the analysis. The timing and the latitudinal dependence of the EPBs occurrence rate are derived by means of the rate of the total electron content (TEC) index (ROTI) data from GNSS receivers in China, whereas vertical profiles of the scintillation index S4 are provided by COSMIC (Constellation Observing System for Meteorology, Ionosphere and Climate). The GNSS receivers of the low Earth orbit satellites give information about the occurrence of amplitude scintillations in limb sounding geometry where the focus is on magnetic latitudes from 20° S to 20° N. The occurrence rates of the observed EPB-induced scintillations are generally smaller than those of the EPB-induced ROTI variations. The timing and the latitude dependence of the EPBs occurrence rate agree between the ground-based and spaceborne GNSS data. We find that EPBs occur at 19:00 LT and they are mainly situated above the F2 peak layer which descended from 450 km at 20:00 LT to 300 km at 24:00 LT in the equatorial ionosphere. At the same time, the spaceborne GNSS data also show, for the first time, a high occurrence rate of post-sunset scintillations at 100 km altitude, indicating the coexistence of equatorial sporadic E with EPBs. View Full-Text
Keywords: equatorial ionosphere; equatorial plasma bubbles; sporadic E; scintillations; ROTI; GNSS ionosphere sounding equatorial ionosphere; equatorial plasma bubbles; sporadic E; scintillations; ROTI; GNSS ionosphere sounding
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Ma, G.; Hocke, K.; Li, J.; Wan, Q.; Lu, W.; Fu, W. GNSS Ionosphere Sounding of Equatorial Plasma Bubbles. Atmosphere 2019, 10, 676.

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