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Real-Time Detection of Tsunami Ionospheric Disturbances with a Stand-Alone GNSS Receiver: A Preliminary Feasibility Demonstration.

ABSTRACT

It is well known that tsunamis can produce gravity waves that propagate up to the ionosphere generating disturbed electron densities in the E and F regions. These ionospheric disturbances can be studied in detail using ionospheric total electron content (TEC) measurements collected by continuously operating ground-based receivers from the Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS). Here, we present results using a new approach, named VARION (Variometric Approach for Real-Time Ionosphere Observation), and estimate slant TEC (sTEC) variations in a real-time scenario. Using the VARION algorithm we compute TEC variations at 56 GPS receivers in Hawaii as induced by the 2012 Haida Gwaii tsunami event. We observe TEC perturbations with amplitudes of up to 0.25 TEC units and traveling ionospheric perturbations (TIDs) moving away from the earthquake epicenter at an approximate speed of 316 m/s. We perform a wavelet analysis to analyze localized variations of power in the TEC time series and we find perturbation periods consistent with a tsunami typical deep ocean period. Finally, we present comparisons with the real-time tsunami MOST (Method of Splitting Tsunami) model produced by the NOAA Center for Tsunami Research and we observe variations in TEC that correlate in time and space with the tsunami waves.