Climatology of GPS ionospheric scintillations over high and mid-latitude European regions
Abstract. We analyze data of ionospheric scintillation in the geographic latitudinal range 44°–88° N during the period of October, November and December 2003 as a first step to develop a "scintillation climatology" over Northern Europe. The behavior of the scintillation occurrence as a function of the magnetic local time and of the corrected magnetic latitude is investigated to characterize the external conditions leading to scintillation scenarios. The results shown herein, obtained merging observations from four GISTM (GPS Ionospheric Scintillation and TEC Monitor), highlight also the possibility to investigate the dynamics of irregularities causing scintillation by combining the information coming from a wide range of latitudes. Our findings associate the occurrences of the ionospheric irregularities with the expected position of the auroral oval and ionospheric troughs and show similarities with the distribution in magnetic local time of the polar cap patches. The results show also the effect of ionospheric disturbances on the phase and the amplitude of the GPS signals, evidencing the different contributions of the auroral and the cusp/cap ionosphere.