Articles | Volume 23, issue 3
30 Mar 2005
 | 30 Mar 2005

Responses of equatorial anomaly to the October-November 2003 superstorms

B. Zhao, W. Wan, and L. Liu

Abstract. The responses of Equatorial Ionization Anomaly (EIA) to the superstorms of October-November 2003 were investigated using the total electron content (TEC) measured with global positioning system (GPS) receivers in China, Southeast Asia, Australian (CSAA), and the American regions. Enhanced EIA was seen to be correlated with the southward turning of the interplanetary magnetic field Bz. In both the CSAA and American regions, EIA was intensified, corresponding to a large increase in the F-layer peak height (hmF2) measured by ionosonde and digisonde at middle and equatorial latitudes. However, the enhanced EIA was shown to be more significant during the daytime in the American region, which was associated with a series of large substorms when Bz was stable southward. The prompt penetration electric field and the wind disturbances dynamo electric field are suggested to be responsible for this observation according to current theory, although some features cannot be totally decipherable. Both the ionogram and magnetometer data show the existence of a weak shielding effect whose effect still needs further study. A clear asymmetric ionospheric response was shown in our TEC observations, even though it was only one month after autumnal equinox. The southern EIA crest was totally obliterated on 29 and 30 October in the CSAA region and on 31 October in the American region. Ion temperatures from the Defense Meteorological Satellite Program (DMSP) spacecraft revealed that the unequal energy injection at the polar region might be the reason for this effect. It is concluded that different physical processes have varying degrees of importance on the evolution of EIA in the CSAA and American regions.