GPS phase scintillation at high latitudes during geomagnetic storms of 7–17 March 2012 – Part 1: The North American sector
Abstract. The interval of geomagnetic storms of 7–17 March 2012 was selected at the Climate and Weather of the Sun-Earth System (CAWSES) II Workshop for group study of space weather effects during the ascending phase of solar cycle 24 (Tsurutani et al., 2014). The high-latitude ionospheric response to a series of storms is studied using arrays of GPS receivers, HF radars, ionosondes, riometers, magnetometers, and auroral imagers focusing on GPS phase scintillation. Four geomagnetic storms showed varied responses to solar wind conditions characterized by the interplanetary magnetic field (IMF) and solar wind dynamic pressure. As a function of magnetic latitude and magnetic local time, regions of enhanced scintillation are identified in the context of coupling processes between the solar wind and the magnetosphere–ionosphere system. Large southward IMF and high solar wind dynamic pressure resulted in the strongest scintillation in the nightside auroral oval. Scintillation occurrence was correlated with ground magnetic field perturbations and riometer absorption enhancements, and collocated with mapped auroral emission. During periods of southward IMF, scintillation was also collocated with ionospheric convection in the expanded dawn and dusk cells, with the antisunward convection in the polar cap and with a tongue of ionization fractured into patches. In contrast, large northward IMF combined with a strong solar wind dynamic pressure pulse was followed by scintillation caused by transpolar arcs in the polar cap.