skip to main content

Title: Simultaneous 6300 Å airglow and radar observations of ionospheric irregularities and dynamics at the geomagnetic equator

Abstract. In March 2014 an all-sky imager (ASI) was installed at the Jicamarca Radio Observatory (11.95°S, 76.87°W; 0.3°S MLAT). We present results of equatorial spread F (ESF) characteristics observed at Jicamarca and at low latitudes. Optical 6300 and 7774Å airglow observations from the Jicamarca ASI are compared with other collocated instruments and with ASIs at El Leoncito, Argentina (31.8°S, 69.3°W; 19.8°S MLAT), and Villa de Leyva, Colombia (5.6°N, 73.52°W; 16.4°N MLAT). We use Jicamarca radar data, in incoherent and coherent modes, to obtain plasma parameters and detect echoes from irregularities. We find that ESF depletions tend to appear in groups with a group-to-group separation around 400–500km and within-group separation around 50–100km. We combine data from the three ASIs to investigate the conditions at Jicamarca that could lead to the development of high-altitude, or topside, plumes. We compare zonal winds, obtained from a Fabry–Pérot interferometer, with plasma drifts inferred from the zonal motion of plasma depletions. In addition to the ESF studies we also investigate the midnight temperature maximum and its effects at higher latitudes, visible as a brightness wave at El Leoncito. The ASI at Jicamarca along with collocated and more » low-latitude instruments provide a clear two-dimensional view of spatial and temporal evolution of ionospheric phenomena at equatorial and low latitudes that helps to explain the dynamics and evolution of equatorial ionospheric/thermospheric processes.

« less
; ; ; ; ;
Award ID(s):
Publication Date:
Journal Name:
Annales Geophysicae
Page Range or eLocation-ID:
473 to 487
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
More Like this
  1. Abstract We introduce a new numerical model developed to assist with Data Interpretation and Numerical Analysis of ionospheric Missions and Observations (DINAMO). DINAMO derives the ionospheric electrostatic potential at low- and mid-latitudes from a two-dimensional dynamo equation and user-specified inputs for the state of the ionosphere and thermosphere (I–T) system. The potential is used to specify the electric fields and associated F -region E × B plasma drifts. Most of the model was written in Python to facilitate the setup of numerical experiments and to engage students in numerical modeling applied to space sciences. Here, we illustrate applications and results of DINAMO in two different analyses. First, DINAMO is used to assess the ability of widely used I–T climatological models (IRI-2016, NRLMSISE-00, and HWM14), when used as drivers, to produce a realistic representation of the low-latitude electrodynamics. In order to evaluate the results, model E × B drifts are compared with observed climatology of the drifts derived from long-term observations made by the Jicamarca incoherent scatter radar. We found that the climatological I–T models are able to drive many of the features of the plasma drifts including the diurnal, seasonal, altitudinal and solar cycle variability. We also identified discrepancies betweenmore »modeled and observed drifts under certain conditions. This is, in particular, the case of vertical equatorial plasma drifts during low solar flux conditions, which were attributed to a poor specification of the E -region neutral wind dynamo. DINAMO is then used to quantify the impact of meridional currents on the morphology of F -region zonal plasma drifts. Analytic representations of the equatorial drifts are commonly used to interpret observations. These representations, however, commonly ignore contributions from meridional currents. Using DINAMO we show that that these currents can modify zonal plasma drifts by up to ~ 16 m/s in the bottom-side post-sunset F -region, and up to ~ 10 m/s between 0700 and 1000 LT for altitudes above 500 km. Finally, DINAMO results show the relationship between the pre-reversal enhancement (PRE) of the vertical drifts and the vertical shear in the zonal plasma drifts with implications for equatorial spread F.« less
  2. Abstract

    We have devoted efforts to the development and performance evaluation of new low-cost ionospheric instruments for studies that require distributed observations and for educational and citizen science initiatives. Here, we report results of some of these efforts. More specifically, we describe the design of new ionospheric sensors based on Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) receivers and single-board computers. The first sensor (ScintPi 2.0) is a multi-constellation, single-frequency ionospheric scintillation monitor. The second sensor (ScintPi 3.0) is a multi-constellation, dual-frequency ionospheric scintillation and total electron content (TEC) monitor. Both sensors were created using Raspberry Pi computers and off-the-shelf GNSS receivers. While they are not intended to fully replace commercial ionospheric monitors, they cost a fraction of their price and can be used in various scientific applications. In addition to describing these new sensors, we present examples of observations made by ScintPi 3.0 deployed in Presidente Prudente, Brazil (22.12 S, 51.41 W, − 17.67° dip latitude). These examples show the ability of our system to detect scintillation events and TEC depletions such as those associated with equatorial plasma bubbles. Additionally, our observations were made in parallel with a commercial receiver (Septentrio PolaRx5S), which allowed an evaluation of the scintillation and TEC measurements provided bymore »our system. The comparison shows that ScintPi 3.0 can provide estimates of the amplitude scintillation index (S4) and TEC that are in excellent agreement with those provided by PolaRx5S. We also show an example of the application of ScintPi 3.0 in distributed observations of ionospheric irregularities and scintillation over South America.

    Graphical Abstract

    « less
  3. Abstract. Thaw and release of permafrost carbon (C) due to climate change is likely tooffset increased vegetation C uptake in northern high-latitude (NHL)terrestrial ecosystems. Models project that this permafrost C feedback mayact as a slow leak, in which case detection and attribution of the feedbackmay be difficult. The formation of talik, a subsurface layer of perenniallythawed soil, can accelerate permafrost degradation and soil respiration,ultimately shifting the C balance of permafrost-affected ecosystems fromlong-term C sinks to long-term C sources. It is imperative to understand andcharacterize mechanistic links between talik, permafrost thaw, andrespiration of deep soil C to detect and quantify the permafrost C feedback.Here, we use the Community Land Model (CLM) version 4.5, a permafrost andbiogeochemistry model, in comparison to long-term deep borehole data alongNorth American and Siberian transects, to investigate thaw-driven C sourcesin NHL (>55N) from 2000 to 2300. Widespread talik at depth isprojected across most of the NHL permafrost region(14million km2) by 2300, 6.2million km2 of which isprojected to become a long-term C source, emitting 10Pg C by 2100,50Pg C by 2200, and 120Pg C by 2300, with few signs ofslowing. Roughly half of the projected C source region is in predominantlywarm sub-Arctic permafrost following talik onset. This region emits only20Pg C by 2300, butmore »the CLM4.5 estimate may be biased low by notaccounting for deep C in yedoma. Accelerated decomposition of deep soilC following talik onset shifts the ecosystem C balance away from surfacedominant processes (photosynthesis and litter respiration), butsink-to-source transition dates are delayed by 20–200 years by highecosystem productivity, such that talik peaks early (2050s, although boreholedata suggest sooner) and C source transition peaks late(2150–2200). The remaining C source region in cold northern Arcticpermafrost, which shifts to a net source early (late 21st century), emits5 times more C (95Pg C) by 2300, and prior to talik formation dueto the high decomposition rates of shallow, young C in organic-rich soilscoupled with low productivity. Our results provide important clues signalingimminent talik onset and C source transition, including (1) late cold-season(January–February) soil warming at depth (2m),(2) increasing cold-season emissions (November–April), and (3) enhancedrespiration of deep, old C in warm permafrost and young, shallow C in organic-rich cold permafrost soils. Our results suggest a mosaic of processes thatgovern carbon source-to-sink transitions at high latitudes and emphasize theurgency of monitoring soil thermal profiles, organic C age and content, cold-season CO2 emissions, andatmospheric 14CO2 as key indicatorsof the permafrost C feedback.

    « less
  4. 630.0 nm all-sky imaging data are used to detect airglow depletions associated with equatorial spread F. Pairs of imagers located at geomagnetically conjugate locations in the American sector at low and mid-latitudes provide information on the occurrence rate and zonal motion of airglow depletions. Airglow depletions are seen extending to magnetic latitudes as high as 25°. An asymmetric extension is observed with structures in the northern hemisphere reaching higher latitudes. By tracking the zonal motion of airglow depletions, zonal plasma drifts in the thermosphere can be inferred and their simultaneous behavior in both hemispheres investigated. Case studies using El Leoncito and Mercedes imagers in the southern hemisphere, and the respective magnetically conjugate imagers at Villa de Leyva and Arecibo, provide consistent evidence of the influence of the South Atlantic Magnetic Anomaly on the dynamics and characteristics of the thermosphere–ionosphere system at low and mid-latitudes.
  5. Abstract. Climate models predict amplified warming at high elevations in low latitudes,making tropical glacierized regions some of the most vulnerable hydrologicalsystems in the world. Observations reveal decreasing streamflow due toretreating glaciers in the Andes, which hold 99% of all tropicalglaciers. However, the timescales over which meltwater contributes tostreamflow and the pathways it takes – surface and subsurface – remainuncertain, hindering our ability to predict how shrinking glaciers willimpact water resources. Two major contributors to this uncertainty are thesparsity of hydrologic measurements in tropical glacierized watersheds andthe complication of hydrograph separation where there is year-round glaciermelt. We address these challenges using a multi-method approach that employsrepeat hydrochemical mixing model analysis, hydroclimatic time seriesanalysis, and integrated watershed modeling. Each of these approachesinterrogates distinct timescale relationships among meltwater, groundwater,and stream discharge. Our results challenge the commonly held conceptualmodel that glaciers buffer discharge variability. Instead, in a subhumidwatershed on Volcán Chimborazo, Ecuador, glacier melt drives nearly allthe variability in discharge (Pearson correlation coefficient of 0.89 insimulations), with glaciers contributing a broad range of 20%–60%or wider of discharge, mostly (86%) through surface runoff on hourlytimescales, but also through infiltration that increases annual groundwatercontributions by nearly 20%. We further found thatmore »rainfall may enhanceglacier melt contributions to discharge at timescales that complement glaciermelt production, possibly explaining why minimum discharge occurred at thestudy site during warm but dry El Niño conditions, which typicallyheighten melt in the Andes. Our findings caution against extrapolations fromisolated measurements: stream discharge and glacier melt contributions intropical glacierized systems can change substantially at hourly tointerannual timescales, due to climatic variability and surface to subsurfaceflow processes.

    « less