Three-dimensional morphology of equatorial plasma bubbles deduced from measurements onboard CHAMP
Abstract. Total electron content (TEC) between Low-Earth-Orbit (LEO) satellites and the Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) satellites can be used to constrain the three-dimensional morphology of equatorial plasma bubbles (EPBs). In this study we investigate TEC measured onboard the Challenging Minisatellite Payload (CHAMP) from 2001 to 2005. We only use TEC data obtained when CHAMP passed through EPBs: that is, when in situ plasma density measurements at CHAMP altitude also show EPB signatures. The observed TEC gradient along the CHAMP track is strongest when the corresponding GNSS satellite is located equatorward and westward of CHAMP with elevation angles of about 40–60°. These elevation and azimuth angles are in agreement with the angles expected from the morphology of the plasma depletion shell proposed by Kil et al.(2009).