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Annales Geophysicae An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Submitted as: regular paper 14 May 2020

Submitted as: regular paper | 14 May 2020

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This preprint is currently under review for the journal ANGEO.

Tomographic Imaging of a Large Scale TID during the Halloween Storm of 2003

Karl Bolmgren1, Cathryn Mitchell1, Talini Pinto Jayawardena1, Gary Bust2, and Jon Bruno1 Karl Bolmgren et al.
  • 1Department of Electronic and Electrical Engineering, University of Bath, UK
  • 2Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory, MD, USA

Abstract. The most intense ionospheric storm observed in recent times occurred between 29–31 October 2003. The disturbances to the high-latitude regions set off several Large-Scale Travelling Ionospheric Disturbances (LSTIDs), wavelike perturbations in the ionospheric electron density. This paper investigates one particular Travelling Ionospheric Disturbance (TID) on 31 October 2003 using North American Global Positioning System (GPS) receiver network data and a tomographic imaging technique. The TID has an estimated period of 30 min, an estimated horizontal wavelength of 700 km and propagates South-Westward over North America. The tomographic reconstruction of the wave is validated using a simulation of the observations and with independent observations from ionosondes and the CHAMP Planar Langmuir Probe. The results are discussed in the context of the magnetic and ionospheric conditions that may have contributed to the launch of the wave. Large-scale TIDs are challenging to study over large regions of the Earth, and the GPS network here is shown to offer a unique perspective on the spatial and temporal variation of the TID. The experimental results are backed up by simulations that show a denser network of receivers, as is available in more recent years, would produce improved accuracy in the TID imaging.

Karl Bolmgren et al.

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Karl Bolmgren et al.

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Latest update: 13 Jul 2020
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Short summary
Travelling ionospheric disturbances behave like waves in the ionosphere, the ionised upper part of the atmosphere. In this study, we use an ionospheric tomography technique to map the electron content as affected by the passage of a large scale travelling ionospheric disturbance launched during the largest geomagnetic storm observed by modern instruments. This is the first such imaging using this software and to the authors' knowledge the first study of this travelling ionospheric disturbance.
Travelling ionospheric disturbances behave like waves in the ionosphere, the ionised upper part...