First evidences of ionospheric plasma depletions observations using GNSS-R data from CYGNSS
PublisherMultidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute (MDPI)
Rights accessOpen Access
At some frequencies, Earth’s ionosphere may significantly impact satellite communications, Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS) positioning, and Earth Observation measurements. Due to the temporal and spatial variations in the Total Electron Content (TEC) and the ionosphere dynamics (i.e., fluctuations in the electron content density), electromagnetic waves suffer from signal delay, polarization change (i.e., Faraday rotation), direction of arrival, and fluctuations in signal intensity and phase (i.e., scintillation). Although there are previous studies proposing GNSS Reflectometry (GNSS-R) to study the ionospheric scintillation using, for example TechDemoSat-1, the amount of data is limited. In this study, data from NASA CYGNSS constellation have been used to explore a new source of data for ionospheric activity, and in particular, for travelling equatorial plasma depletions (EPBs). Using data from GNSS ground stations, previous studies detected and characterized their presence at equatorial latitudes. This work presents, for the first time to authors’ knowledge, the evidence of ionospheric bubbles detection in ocean regions using GNSS-R data, where there are no ground stations available. The results of the study show that bubbles can be detected and, in addition to measure their dimensions and duration, the increased intensity scintillation (S4) occurring in the bubbles can be estimated. The bubbles detected here reached S4 values of around 0.3–0.4 lasting for some seconds to few minutes. Furthermore, a comparison with data from ESA Swarm mission is presented, showing certain correlation in regions where there is S4 peaks detected by CYGNSS and fluctuations in the plasma density as measured by Swarm
CitationMolina, C.; Camps, A. First evidences of ionospheric plasma depletions observations using GNSS-R data from CYGNSS. "Remote sensing", 2 Novembre 2020, vol. 12, núm. 3782, p. 1-21.