Articles | Volume 23, issue 5
28 Jul 2005
 | 28 Jul 2005

Observations by the CUTLASS radar, HF Doppler, oblique ionospheric sounding, and TEC from GPS during a magnetic storm

D. V. Blagoveshchensky, M. Lester, V. A. Kornienko, I. I. Shagimuratov, A. J. Stocker, and E. M. Warrington

Abstract. Multi-diagnostic observations, covering a significant area of northwest Europe, were made during the magnetic storm interval (28–29 April 2001) that occurred during the High Rate SolarMax IGS/GPS-campaign. HF radio observations were made with vertical sounders (St. Petersburg and Sodankyla), oblique incidence sounders (OIS), on paths from Murmansk to St. Petersburg, 1050 km, and Inskip to Leicester, 170 km, Doppler sounders, on paths from Cyprus to St. Petersburg, 2800 km, and Murmansk to St. Petersburg, and a coherent scatter radar (CUTLASS, Hankasalmi, Finland). These, together with total electron content (TEC) measurements made at GPS stations from the Euref network in northwest Europe, are presented in this paper. A broad comparison of radio propagation data with ionospheric data at high and mid latitudes, under quiet and disturbed conditions, was undertaken. This analysis, together with a geophysical interpretation, allow us to better understand the nature of the ionospheric processes which occur during geomagnetic storms. The peculiarity of the storm was that it comprised of three individual substorms, the first of which appears to have been triggered by a compression of the magnetosphere. Besides the storm effects, we have also studied substorm effects in the observations separately, providing an improved understanding of the storm/substorm relationship. The main results of the investigations are the following. A narrow trough is formed some 10h after the storm onset in the TEC which is most likely a result of enhanced ionospheric convection. An enhancement in TEC some 2–3 h after the storm onset is most likely a result of heating and upwelling of the auroral ionosphere caused by enhanced currents. The so-called main effect on ionospheric propagation was observed at mid-latitudes during the first two substorms, but only during the first substorm at high latitudes. Ionospheric irregularities observed by CUTLASS were clearly related to the gradient in TEC associated with the trough. The oblique sounder and Doppler observations also demonstrate differences between the mid-latitude and high-latitude paths during this particular storm.

Keywords. Ionosphere (Ionospheric disturbances) – Magnetospheric physics (Storms and substorms) – Radio science (Ionospheric propagation)