Observations of Ionospheric Disturbances Associated with the 4 August 2020 Port Beirut Explosion by DMSP and Ionosondes
Abstract. A major explosion happened in Beirut on 4 August 2020, releasing a significant amount of energy into the atmosphere. The energy released may have reached the upper atmosphere and generated some traveling ionospheric disturbances (TIDs), which may affect radio wave propagation. In this study, we used data from the Defense Meteorological Satellite Program (DMSP) and ground-based ionosondes in the Mediterranean region to investigate the ionospheric response to this historic explosion event. Our DMSP data analysis revealed a noticeable increase in the ionospheric electron density near Beirut area following the explosion, accompanied by some wavelike disturbances. Some characteristic TID signatures were also identified in the shape of ionogram traces at several locations in the Mediterranean. This event occurred during a period of relatively quiet geomagnetic conditions, making the observed TIDs likely to originate from the Beirut explosion, and not from other sources such as auroral activities. These observational findings demonstrate that TIDs from the Beirut explosion were able to propagate over longer distance beyond the immediate areas of Lebanon and Israel/Palestine, reaching the Mediterranean and Eastern Europe.
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