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Spatial and Temporal Distributions of Ionospheric Irregularities Derived from Regional and Global ROTI Maps

Nguyen, Chinh Thai; Oluwadare, Seun Temitope; Le, Nhung Thi; Alizadeh, Mahdi; Wickert, Jens; Schuh, Harald

Major advancements in the monitoring of both the occurrence and impacts of space weather can be made by evaluating the occurrence and distribution of ionospheric disturbances. Previous studies have shown that the fluctuations in total electron content (TEC) values estimated from Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) observations clearly exhibit the intensity levels of ionospheric irregularities, which vary continuously in both time and space. The duration and intensity of perturbations depend on the geographic location. They are also dependent on the physical activities of the Sun, the Earth’s magnetic activities, as well as the process of transferring energy from the Sun to the Earth. The aim of this study is to establish ionospheric irregularity maps using ROTI (rate of TEC index) values derived from conventional dual-frequency GNSS measurements (30-s interval). The research areas are located in Southeast Asia (15°S–25°N latitude and 95°E–115°E longitude), which is heavily affected by ionospheric scintillations, as well as in other regions around the globe. The regional ROTI map of Southeast Asia clearly indicates that ionospheric disturbances in this region are dominantly concentrated around the two equatorial ionization anomaly (EIA) crests, occurring mainly during the evening hours. Meanwhile, the global ROTI maps reveal the spatial and temporal distributions of ionospheric scintillations. Within the equatorial region, South America is the most vulnerable area (22.6% of total irregularities), followed by West Africa (8.2%), Southeast Asia (4.7%), East Africa (4.1%), the Pacific (3.8%), and South Asia (2.3%). The generated maps show that the scintillation occurrence is low in the mid-latitude areas during the last solar cycle. In the polar regions, ionospheric irregularities occur at any time of the day. To compare ionospheric disturbances between regions, the Earth is divided into ten sectors and their irregularity coefficients are calculated accordingly. The quantification of the degrees of disturbance reveals that about 58 times more ionospheric irregularities are observed in South America than in the southern mid-latitudes (least affected region). The irregularity coefficients in order from largest to smallest are as follows: South America, 3.49; the Arctic, 1.94; West Africa, 1.77; Southeast Asia, 1.27; South Asia, 1.24; the Antarctic, 1.10; East Africa, 0.89; the Pacific, 0.32; northern mid-latitudes, 0.15; southern mid-latitudes, 0.06.
Published in: Remote Sensing, 10.3390/rs14010010, MDPI