Remote Sensing, Vol. 12, Pages 2200: Ionospheric Responses to the June 2015 Geomagnetic Storm from Ground and LEO GNSS Observations

Research paper by Chao Gao, Shuanggen Jin, Liangliang Yuan

Indexed on: 12 Jul '20Published on: 09 Jul '20Published in: Remote sensing


Geomagnetic storms are extreme space weather events, which have considerable impacts on the ionosphere and power transmission systems. In this paper, the ionospheric responses to the geomagnetic storm on 22 June 2015, are analyzed from ground-based and satellite-based Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) observations as well as observational data of digital ionosondes, and the main physical mechanisms of the ionospheric disturbances observed during the geomagnetic storm are discussed. Salient positive and negative storms are observed from vertical total electron content (VTEC) based on ground-based GNSS observations at different stages of the storm. Combining topside observations of Low-Earth-Orbit (LEO) satellites (GRACE and MetOp satellites) with different orbital altitudes and corresponding ground-based observations, the ionospheric responses above and below the orbits are studied during the storm. To obtain VTEC from the slant TEC between Global Positioning System (GPS) and LEO satellites, we employ a multi-layer mapping function, which can effectively reduce the overall error caused by the single-layer geometric assumption where the horizontal gradient of the ionosphere is not considered. The results show that the topside observations of the GRACE satellite with a lower orbit can intuitively detect the impact caused by the fluctuation of the F2 peak height (hmF2). At the same time, the latitude range corresponding to the peak value of the up-looking VTEC on the event day becomes wider, which is the precursor of the Equatorial Ionization Anomaly (EIA). However, no obvious response is observed in the up-looking VTEC from MetOp satellites with higher orbits, which indicates that the VTEC responses to the geomagnetic storm mainly take place below the orbit of MetOp satellites.