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Evaluation of E Layer Dominated Ionosphere Events Using COSMIC/FORMOSAT-3 and CHAMP Ionospheric Radio Occultation Data

Kamal, Sumon; Jakowski, Norbert; Hoque, Mohammed M.; Wickert, Jens

FG GNSS-Fernerkundung, Navigation und Positionierung

At certain geographic locations, especially in the polar regions, the ionization of the ionospheric E layer can dominate over that of the F2 layer. The associated electron density profiles show their ionization maximum at E layer heights between 80 and 150 km above the Earth’s surface. This phenomenon is called the “E layer dominated ionosphere” (ELDI). In this paper we systematically investigate the characteristics of ELDI occurrences at high latitudes, focusing on their spatial and temporal variations. In our study, we use ionospheric GPS radio occultation data obtained from the COSMIC/FORMOSAT-3 (Constellation Observing System for Meteorology, Ionosphere, and Climate/Formosa Satellite Mission 3) and CHAMP (Challenging Minisatellite Payload) satellite missions. The entire dataset comprises the long period from 2001 to 2018, covering the previous and present solar cycles. This allows us to study the variation of the ELDI in different ways. In addition to the geospatial distribution, we also examine the temporal variation of ELDI events, focusing on the diurnal, the seasonal, and the solar cycle dependent variation. Furthermore, we investigate the spatiotemporal dependency of the ELDI on geomagnetic storms.