Articles | Volume 33, issue 4
Regular paper
20 Apr 2015
Regular paper |  | 20 Apr 2015

Analysis of the enhanced negative correlation between electron density and electron temperature related to earthquakes

X. H. Shen, X. Zhang, J. Liu, S. F. Zhao, and G. P. Yuan

Abstract. Ionospheric perturbations in plasma parameters have been observed before large earthquakes, but the correlation between different parameters has been less studied in previous research. The present study is focused on the relationship between electron density (Ne) and temperature (Te) observed by the DEMETER (Detection of Electro-Magnetic Emissions Transmitted from Earthquake Regions) satellite during local nighttime, in which a positive correlation has been revealed near the equator and a weak correlation at mid- and low latitudes over both hemispheres. Based on this normal background analysis, the negative correlation with the lowest percent in all Ne and Te points is studied before and after large earthquakes at mid- and low latitudes. The multiparameter observations exhibited typical synchronous disturbances before the Chile M8.8 earthquake in 2010 and the Pu'er M6.4 in 2007, and Te varied inversely with Ne over the epicentral areas. Moreover, statistical analysis has been done by selecting the orbits at a distance of 1000 km and ±7 days before and after the global earthquakes. Enhanced negative correlation coefficients lower than −0.5 between Ne and Te are found in 42% of points to be connected with earthquakes. The correlation median values at different seismic levels show a clear decrease with earthquakes larger than 7. Finally, the electric-field-coupling model is discussed; furthermore, a digital simulation has been carried out by SAMI2 (Sami2 is Another Model of the Ionosphere), which illustrates that the external electric field in the ionosphere can strengthen the negative correlation in Ne and Te at a lower latitude relative to the disturbed source due to the effects of the geomagnetic field. Although seismic activity is not the only source to cause the inverse NeTe variations, the present results demonstrate one possibly useful tool in seismo-electromagnetic anomaly differentiation, and a comprehensive analysis with multiple parameters helps to further understand the seismo–ionospheric coupling mechanism. \keywords{Ionosphere (plasma temperature and density)}

Short summary
This paper addresses the background of electron density (Ne) and temperature (Te and their relationship during local nighttime based on DEMETER satellite data. It also discusses the enhanced negative correlation of Ne and Te around strong earthquakes and the possible electric-field-coupling mechanism as well as digital calculation.