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Ionospheric Storm Effects and Equatorial Plasma Irregularities During the 17-18 March 2015 EventThe intense magnetic storm on 17-18 March 2015 caused large disturbances of the ionosphere. Based on the plasma density (Ni) observations performed by the Swarm fleet of satellites, the Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment mission, and the Communications/Navigation Outage Forecasting System satellite, we characterize the storm-related perturbations at low latitudes. All these satellites sampled the ionosphere in morning and evening time sectors where large modifications occurred. Modifications of plasma density are closely related to changes of the solar wind merging electric field (E (sub m)). We consider two mechanisms, prompt penetration electric field (PPEF) and disturbance dynamo electric field (DDEF), as the main cause for the Ni redistribution, but effects of meridional wind are also taken into account. At the start of the storm main phase, the PPEF is enhancing plasma density on the dayside and reducing it on the nightside. Later, DDEF takes over and causes the opposite reaction. Unexpectedly, there appears during the recovery phase a strong density enhancement in the morning/pre-noon sector and a severe Ni reduction in the afternoon/evening sector, and we suggest a combined effect of vertical plasma drift, and meridional wind is responsible for these ionospheric storm effects. Different from earlier studies about this storm, we also investigate the influence of storm dynamics on the initiation of equatorial plasma irregularities (EPIs). Shortly after the start of the storm main phase, EPIs appear in the post-sunset sector. As a response to a short-lived decline of E (sub m), EPI activity appears in the early morning sector. Following the second start of the main phase, EPIs are generated for a few hours in the late evening sector. However, for the rest of the storm main phase, no more EPIs are initiated for more than 12 hours. Only after the onset of recovery phase does EPI activity start again in the post-midnight sector, lasting more than 7 hours.This comprehensive view of ionospheric storm effects and plasma irregularities adds to our understanding of conditions that lead to ionospheric instabilities.
Document ID
Document Type
Reprint (Version printed in journal)
External Source(s)
Zhou, Yun-Liang (Wuhan Univ. China)
Luhr, Hermann (GeoForschungsZentrum Potsdam, Germany)
Xiong, Chao (GeoForschungsZentrum Potsdam, Germany)
Pfaff, Robert F. (NASA Goddard Space Flight Center Greenbelt, MD United States)
Date Acquired
April 6, 2017
Publication Date
September 22, 2016
Publication Information
Publication: Journal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics
Volume: 121
Issue: 9
ISSN: 2169-9380
Subject Category
Report/Patent Number
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