Articles | Volume 27, issue 3
10 Mar 2009
 | 10 Mar 2009

Enhanced E-layer ionization in the auroral zones observed by radio occultation measurements onboard CHAMP and Formosat-3/COSMIC

C. Mayer and N. Jakowski

Abstract. Particle precipitation of magnetospheric origin causes additional ionization in the auroral zone at E-layer heights. During night-time, in particular at winter-night, the E-layer ionization may dominate over the F2-layer ionization level. To study the geophysical conditions and characteristics of the related ionospheric processes in more detail, we use GPS radio occultation electron density profile retrievals from CHAMP and Formosat-3/COSMIC to extract those vertical profiles which show the absolute maximum of ionization in the E-layer height range of 90–150 km. In order to select these profiles, we have developed an algorithm which can recognize the shape of a given profile by fitting an empirical Ansatz to it. Using data from CHAMP collected since 2002 and Formosat-3/COSMIC data starting from 2006, we are able to study both, the local-time dependence and the solar-cylce variability of the observed processes.