Articles | Volume 26, issue 9
15 Sep 2008
 | 15 Sep 2008

A multi-diagnostic approach to understanding high-latitude plasma transport during the Halloween 2003 storm

P. Yin, C. N. Mitchell, P. Spencer, I. McCrea, and T. Pedersen

Abstract. During the Halloween 2003 storm event, significant electron density enhancements at elevated F-layer altitudes were recorded by the EISCAT and ESR radars in northern Europe between 20:00 and 24:00 UT on 30 October. At the same time, a sequence of optical images from Qaanaaq in northern Greenland captured a series of eastward-propagating polar cap patches. In this paper, an advanced 4-D tomographic method based on the assimilation of global GPS data, coupled to a predictive Kalman filtering technique, has been used to reveal the linkage between these ionospheric structures. The combination of the various data sources has clearly established the time history of this extreme event, in which high-density plasma was uplifted in the dayside ionosphere and convected anti-sunward across the polar cap to European high latitudes at an elevated F-layer. Using this multi instrument approach, we can differentiate between those density structures observed at the ESR which occurred as a result of cross-polar transport and those more likely to have been produced by in-situ soft particle precipitation, a distinction which is supported by the ESR and EISCAT data. The multi-diagnostic approach reported here has the potential significantly to extend our current understanding of high latitude plasma transport and the origin of electron density enhancements.