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Annales Geophysicae An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Volume 36, issue 1 | Copyright

Special issue: Space weather connections to near-Earth space and the...

Ann. Geophys., 36, 91-100, 2018
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Regular paper 23 Jan 2018

Regular paper | 23 Jan 2018

Characteristics of equatorial plasma bubbles observed by TEC map based on ground-based GNSS receivers over South America

Diego Barros, Hisao Takahashi, Cristiano M. Wrasse, and Cosme Alexandre O. B. Figueiredo Diego Barros et al.
  • Instituto Nacional de Pesquisas Espaciais, São José dos Campos, SP, Brazil

Abstract. A ground-based network of GNSS receivers has been used to monitor equatorial plasma bubbles (EPBs) by mapping the total electron content (TEC map). The large coverage of the TEC map allowed us to monitor several EPBs simultaneously and get characteristics of the dynamics, extension and longitudinal distributions of the EPBs from the onset time until their disappearance. These characteristics were obtained by using TEC map analysis and the keogram technique. TEC map databases analyzed were for the period between November 2012 and January 2016. The zonal drift velocities of the EPBs showed a clear latitudinal gradient varying from 123ms−1 at the Equator to 65ms−1 for 35°S latitude. Consequently, observed EPBs are inclined against the geomagnetic field lines. Both zonal drift velocity and the inclination of the EPBs were compared to the thermospheric neutral wind, which showed good agreement. Moreover, the large two-dimensional coverage of TEC maps allowed us to study periodic EPBs with a wide longitudinal distance. The averaged values observed for the inter-bubble distances also presented a clear latitudinal gradient varying from 920km at the Equator to 640km at 30°S. The latitudinal gradient in the inter-bubble distances seems to be related to the difference in the zonal drift velocity of the EPB from the Equator to middle latitudes and to the difference in the westward movement of the terminator. On several occasions, the distances reached more than 2000km. Inter-bubble distances greater than 1000km have not been reported in the literature.

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