An interhemispheric comparison of GPS phase scintillation with auroral emission observed at the South Pole and from the DMSP satellite

Paul Prikryl, Yongliang Zhang, Yusuke Ebihara, Reza Ghoddousi-Fard, Periyadan T. Jayachandran, Joe Kinrade, Cathryn N. Mitchell, Allan T. Weatherwax, Gary Bust, Pierre J. Cilliers, Luca Spogli, Lucilla Alfonsi, Vincenzo Romano, Baiqi Ning, Guozhu Li, Martin J. Jarvis, Donald W. Danskin, Emma Spanswick, Eric Donovan, Mike Terkildsen


The global positioning system (GPS) phase scintillation caused by high-latitude ionospheric irregularities during an intense high-speed stream (HSS) of the solar wind from April 29 to May 5, 2011, was observed using arrays of GPS ionospheric scintillation and total electron content monitors in the Arctic and Antarctica. The one-minute phase-scintillation index derived from the data sampled at 50 Hz was complemented by a proxy index (delta phase rate) obtained from 1-Hz GPS data. The scintillation occurrence coincided with the aurora borealis and aurora australis observed by an all-sky imager at the South Pole, and by special sensor ultraviolet scanning imagers on board satellites of the Defense Meteorological Satellites Program. The South Pole (SP) station is approximately conjugate with two Canadian High Arctic Ionospheric Network stations on Baffin Island, Canada, which provided the opportunity to study magnetic conjugacy of scintillation with support of riometers and magnetometers. The GPS ionospheric pierce points were mapped at their actual or conjugate locations, along with the auroral emission over the South Pole, assuming an altitude of 120 km. As the aurora brightened and/or drifted across the field of view of the all-sky imager, sequences of scintillation events were observed that indicated conjugate auroras as a locator of simultaneous or delayed bipolar scintillation events. In spite of the greater scintillation intensity in the auroral oval, where phase scintillation sometimes exceeded 1 radian during the auroral break-up and substorms, the percentage occurrence of moderate scintillation was highest in the cusp. Interhemispheric comparisons of bipolar scintillation maps show that the scintillation occurrence is significantly higher in the southern cusp and polar cap.


Polar and auroral ionosphere; Ionospheric scintillation; Space weather; Aurora

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Published by INGV, Istituto Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologia - ISSN:  2037-416X