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A data assimilation algorithm is used to delineate the time-dependent three-dimensional ionospheric response to the 2009 sudden stratospheric warming (SSW) event. We use the Ionospheric Data Assimilation Four-Dimensional (IDA4D) algorithm to study the global ionospheric response to the 2009 SSW. This is the first study to utilize global ionospheric measurements in a data assimilation framework to unambiguously characterize atmosphere-ionosphere coupling via tidal modifications during the 2009 SSW event. Model results reveal that the dominant mode of ionospheric variability during the 2009 SSW is driven by the enhancements in westward propagating semidiurnal tide with zonal wave number 1. The IDA4D results completely characterize the tidal perturbation during the 2009 SSW for the first time and show the global 3-D structure of the tide in total electron content (TEC) and electron density. The largest ionospheric responses were seen at low latitudes, where ionospheric plasma is extremely sensitive to the zonal electric field and susceptible to modifications by tidal winds in the lower thermosphere. The ionospheric response to the warming was characterized by an increase in TEC in the morning/early afternoon sector and a decrease during the late afternoon/evening period. The effects of coupling between the stratosphere and ionosphere were strongest between 220 km and 380 km. The IDA4D results also show a reversal of asymmetry in the equatorial ionization anomaly crests occurring several days after the peak of the 2009 SSW event. We suggest that this could be a result of the equatorial fountain effect being further modified by the summer-to-winter meridional neutral winds.
Published by: Journal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics Published on: 05/2015
YEAR: 2015   DOI: 10.1002/2015JA020993
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