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Annales Geophysicae An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Volume 33, issue 6
Ann. Geophys., 33, 637-656, 2015
https://doi.org/10.5194/angeo-33-637-2015
© Author(s) 2015. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
Ann. Geophys., 33, 637-656, 2015
https://doi.org/10.5194/angeo-33-637-2015
© Author(s) 2015. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

Regular paper 02 Jun 2015

Regular paper | 02 Jun 2015

GPS phase scintillation at high latitudes during geomagnetic storms of 7–17 March 2012 – Part 1: The North American sector

P. Prikryl1,5, R. Ghoddousi-Fard2, E. G. Thomas3, J. M. Ruohoniemi3, S. G. Shepherd4, P. T. Jayachandran5, D. W. Danskin1, E. Spanswick6, Y. Zhang7, Y. Jiao8, and Y. T. Morton8 P. Prikryl et al.
  • 1Geomagnetic Laboratory, Natural Resources Canada, Ottawa, ON, Canada
  • 2Canadian Geodetic Survey, Natural Resources Canada, Ottawa, ON, Canada
  • 3Bradley Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA, USA
  • 4Thayer School of Engineering, Dartmouth College, Hanover, NH, USA
  • 5Physics Department, University of New Brunswick, Fredericton, NB, Canada
  • 6Department of Physics and Astronomy, University of Calgary, Calgary, AB, Canada
  • 7Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Lab, Laurel, MD, USA
  • 8Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO, USA

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.

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Rapid fluctuations in amplitude and phase of radio waves passing through the ionosphere degrade GPS positional accuracy and can lead to navigational errors, particularly during geomagnetic storms. As a function of magnetic latitude and local time, regions of GPS phase scintillation at high latitudes are identified in the context of coupling between the solar wind and the magnetosphere-ionosphere system, which primarily depends on the interplanetary magnetic field magnitude and orientation.
Rapid fluctuations in amplitude and phase of radio waves passing through the ionosphere degrade...
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