Ionospheric and plasmaspheric electron contents inferred from radio occultations and global ionospheric maps
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We introduce a methodology to extract the separate contributions of the ionosphere and the plasmasphere to the vertical total electron content, without relying on a fixed altitude to perform that separation. The method combines two previously developed and tested techniques, namely, the retrieval of electron density profiles from radio occultations using an improved Abel inversion technique and a two-component model for the topside ionosphere plus protonosphere. Taking measurements of the total electron content from global ionospheric maps and radio occultations from the Constellation Observing System for Meteorology, Ionosphere, and Climate/FORMOSAT-3 constellation, the ionospheric and plasmaspheric electron contents are calculated for a sample of observations covering 2007, a period of low solar and geomagnetic activity. The results obtained are shown to be consistent with previous studies for the last solar minimum period and with model calculations, confirming the reversal of the winter anomaly, the hemispheric asymmetry of the semiannual anomaly, and the existence in the plasmasphere of an annual anomaly in the South American sector of longitudes. The analysis of the respective fractional contributions from the ionosphere and the plasmasphere to the total electron content shows quantitatively that during the night the plasmasphere makes the largest contribution, peaking just before sunrise and during winter. On the other hand, the fractional contribution from the ionosphere reaches a maximum value around noon, which is nearly independent of season and geomagnetic latitude.
CitationGonzalez-Casado, G., Juan, J., Sanz, J., Rovira-Garcia, Adrià., Aragón Angel, A. Ionospheric and plasmaspheric electron contents inferred from radio occultations and global ionospheric maps. "Journal of geophysical research: space physics", 04 Juliol 2015, vol. 120, núm. 7, p. 5983-5997.