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Multi-instrument observations of plasma features in the Arctic ionosphere during the main phase of a geomagnetic storm in December 2006

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article


  • Ye-Wen Wu
  • Rui-Yuan Liu
  • Bei-Chen Zhang
  • Zhen-sen Wu
  • Hong-qiao Hu
  • Shun-rong Zhang
  • Qing-he Zhang
  • Jun-ming Liu
  • Farideh Honary
Journal publication date12/2013
JournalJournal of Atmospheric and Solar-Terrestrial Physics
Number of pages9
Early online date27/07/13
Original languageEnglish


Arctic ionospheric variations during the main phase of a magnetic storm on 14–15 December, 2006 were investigated to characterize the high energy particle precipitation caused effects, based on multi-instrument observations. These include electron density observations provided by the Global Positioning System (GPS) total electron content (TEC) measurements, European Incoherent Scatter (EISCAT) radar, the radio occultation (RO) from both the CHAMP satellite and the Constellation Observing System for Meteorology, Ionosphere, and Climate (COSMIC) satellite, as well as the ionospheric absorption of cosmic radio noise measured by the Imaging Riometer for Ionospheric Studies (IRIS) at Kilpisjärvi in the northern Finland (69.051N, 20.791E). Significant increases in the electron density for these different observations were found in the Arctic ionosphere during the main phase of the magnetic storm. These increase occurred in Scandinavian, Northwest part of Russia and Svalbard (SNRS) region, primarily at an altitude of about 110 km. These results are first reported for the SNRS region, and our study contributes to a more complete description of this space weather event during 14–15 December, 2006. Our observa-tions also provide direct evidence that the stormtime E-layer electron density enhancement (e.g., the sporadic E) can form a nearly dominant portion in the observed TEC increase. These increases were accompanied by the ionospheric absorption enhancement at the altitude of about 90 km. The Y-component of magnetic field to the south of SNRS decreased, indicating strong upward field aligned electric current in the Arctic ionosphere. These features are interpreted as the effect of the high energy electron precipitation during the magnetic storm, which is caused by the sub-storm reflected on AL index and the measurements of IMAGE (International Monitor for Auroral Geomagnetic Effects) chain. The average energy of the precipitation electrons reached to about 10 keV and the boundary of the high energy electron precipitation was also found to move poleward with a speed of about 800 m/s.