Articles | Volume 24, issue 1
07 Mar 2006
 | 07 Mar 2006

Observing the north polar ionosphere on 30 October 2003 by GPS imaging and IS radars

C. Stolle, J. Lilensten, S. Schlüter, Ch. Jacobi, M. Rietveld, and H. Lühr

Abstract. The evening of 30 October 2003 was subject to a major storm main phase. For this time, we combine large-scale electron content maps from GPS imaging with time series of electron density and temperature of two EISCAT radars in Tromsø and Svalbard and the Sondrestrom radar, for observing the north polar ionosphere. The GPS assimilations resulted in the image of the electron content trace of an anti-sunward polar Tongue Of Ionisation (TOI) consecutively to 20:00 UT. In combination with the radar observations we concluded that the TOI persisted during the whole period of continuous southward IMF Bz until about 22:40 UT while its largest extension toward the nightside auroral region was found between 21:00-22:00 UT. A typical F region electron temperature of ~2000 K and the plasma velocity of ~800 ms-1 support its convective origin from the dayside mid-latitudes. Due to the structured appearance of the electron content distribution and the radar electron density time series we believe that discrete plasma patches formed inside the anti-sunward drift pattern. After two large oscillations of the IMF Bz the nightside plasma density was observed to re-enhance after 23:00 UT along a longitudinal band below 70 N. Coinciding electron temperatures of ~2000 K suggest again the convective nature of the plasma, while a modified convection pattern is expected.