Articles | Volume 22, issue 9
Ann. Geophys., 22, 3221–3229, 2004

Special issue: Equatorial and low latitude aeronomy (ELLA)

Ann. Geophys., 22, 3221–3229, 2004

  23 Sep 2004

23 Sep 2004

Longitudinal differences observed in the ionospheric F-region during the major geomagnetic storm of 31 March 2001

Y. Sahai1, P. R. Fagundes1, F. Becker-Guedes1, J. R. Abalde1, G. Crowley2, X. Pi3, K. Igarashi4, G. M. Amarante5, A. A. Pimenta6, and J. A. Bittencourt6 Y. Sahai et al.
  • 1Universidade do Vale do Paraiba (UNIVAP), 12244-000 São José dos Campos, SP, Brazil
  • 2Southwest Research Institute, San Antonio, TX 78238-5166, USA
  • 3Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA 91109, USA
  • 4Communications Research Laboratory, Koganei-shi, Tokyo 184-8795, Japan
  • 5The Abdus Salam ICTP, Strada Costeira 11, 34014 Trieste, Italy
  • 6Instituto Nacional de Pesquisas Espaciais (INPE), 12201-970 São José dos Campos, SP, Brazil

Abstract. A new ionospheric sounding station using a Canadian Advanced Digital Ionosonde (CADI) was established for routine measurements by the "Universidade do Vale do Paraiba (UNIVAP)" at São José dos Campos (23.2° S, 45.9° W), Brazil, in August 2000. A major geomagnetic storm with gradual commencement at about 01:00 UT was observed on 31 March 2001. In this paper, we present and discuss salient features from the ionospheric sounding measurements carried out at S. J. Campos on the three consecutive UT days 30 March (quiet), 31 March (disturbed) and 1 April (recovery) 2001. During most of the storm period, the foF2 values showed negative phase, whereas during the two storm-time peaks, large F-region height variations were observed. In order to study the longitudinal differences observed in the F-region during the storm, the simultaneous ionospheric sounding measurements carried out at S. J. Campos, El Arenosillo (37.1° N, 6.7° W), Spain, Okinawa (26.3° N, 127.8° E), Japan and Wakkanai (45.5° N, 141.7° E), Japan, during the period 30 March-1 April 2001, have been analyzed. A comparison of the observed ionospheric parameters (h'F and foF2) in the two longitudinal zones (1. Japanese and 2. Brazilian-Spanish) shows both similarities and differences associated with the geomagnetic disturbances. Some latitudinal differences are also observed in the two longitudinal zones. In addition, global ionospheric TEC maps from the worldwide network of GPS receivers are presented, showing widespread TEC changes during both the main and recovery phases of the storm. The ionospheric sounding measurements are compared with the ASPEN-TIMEGCM model runs appropriate for the storm conditions. The model results produce better agreement during the quiet period. During the disturbed period, some of the observed F-region height variations are well reproduced by the model results. The model foF2 and TEC results differ considerably during the recovery period and indicate much stronger negative phase at all the stations, particularly at the low-latitude ones.