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Title: Ionospheric irregularities and acoustic/gravity wave activity above low-latitude thunderstorms

Abstract

Ionospheric irregularities due to plasma bubbles, scintillation, and acoustic/gravity waves are studied in the low-latitude ionosphere in relation to thunderstorm activity. Ionospheric total electron content (TEC) measurements from the Low Latitude Ionospheric Sensor Network (LISN) and lightning measurements from the World-Wide Lightning Location Network (WWLLN) are compared during two summer months and two winter months in 2013. Large amplitude fluctuations in TEC are found to have a strongly-peaked diurnal pattern in the late evening and nighttime summer ionosphere. The maximum magnitude and coverage area of these fluctuations increases as thunderstorm area increases. Summertime mid-amplitude fluctuations do not exhibit the same diurnal variation, but do increase in magnitude and coverage area as thunderstorm area increases. Wintertime ionospheric fluctuations do not appear to be related to thunderstorm activity. Lastly, these findings show that thunderstorms have an observable effect on magnitude and coverage area of ionospheric fluctuations.

Authors:
ORCiD logo [1]
  1. Los Alamos National Lab. (LANL), Los Alamos, NM (United States)
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Los Alamos National Lab. (LANL), Los Alamos, NM (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE Laboratory Directed Research and Development (LDRD) Program
OSTI Identifier:
1415431
Report Number(s):
LA-UR-17-30883
Journal ID: ISSN 0094-8276
Grant/Contract Number:
AC52-06NA25396; 20160231ER; 20130737ECR
Resource Type:
Journal Article: Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Geophysical Research Letters
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Name: Geophysical Research Letters; Journal ID: ISSN 0094-8276
Publisher:
American Geophysical Union
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
58 GEOSCIENCES; ionosphere; acoustic gravity waves; thunderstorms; scintillation; plasma bubbles

Citation Formats

Lay, Erin H. Ionospheric irregularities and acoustic/gravity wave activity above low-latitude thunderstorms. United States: N. p., 2017. Web. doi:10.1002/2017GL076058.
Lay, Erin H. Ionospheric irregularities and acoustic/gravity wave activity above low-latitude thunderstorms. United States. doi:10.1002/2017GL076058.
Lay, Erin H. 2017. "Ionospheric irregularities and acoustic/gravity wave activity above low-latitude thunderstorms". United States. doi:10.1002/2017GL076058.
@article{osti_1415431,
title = {Ionospheric irregularities and acoustic/gravity wave activity above low-latitude thunderstorms},
author = {Lay, Erin H.},
abstractNote = {Ionospheric irregularities due to plasma bubbles, scintillation, and acoustic/gravity waves are studied in the low-latitude ionosphere in relation to thunderstorm activity. Ionospheric total electron content (TEC) measurements from the Low Latitude Ionospheric Sensor Network (LISN) and lightning measurements from the World-Wide Lightning Location Network (WWLLN) are compared during two summer months and two winter months in 2013. Large amplitude fluctuations in TEC are found to have a strongly-peaked diurnal pattern in the late evening and nighttime summer ionosphere. The maximum magnitude and coverage area of these fluctuations increases as thunderstorm area increases. Summertime mid-amplitude fluctuations do not exhibit the same diurnal variation, but do increase in magnitude and coverage area as thunderstorm area increases. Wintertime ionospheric fluctuations do not appear to be related to thunderstorm activity. Lastly, these findings show that thunderstorms have an observable effect on magnitude and coverage area of ionospheric fluctuations.},
doi = {10.1002/2017GL076058},
journal = {Geophysical Research Letters},
number = ,
volume = ,
place = {United States},
year = 2017,
month =
}

Journal Article:
Free Publicly Available Full Text
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  • In this report, we study the correlation between thunderstorm activity and ionospheric gravity and acoustic waves in the low-latitude ionosphere. We use ionospheric total electron content (TEC) measurements from the Low Latitude Ionospheric Sensor Network (LISN) and lightning measurements from the World- Wide Lightning Location Network (WWLLN). We find that ionospheric acoustic waves show a strong diurnal pattern in summer, peaking in the pre-midnight time period. However, the peak magnitude does not correspond to thunderstorm area, and the peak time is significantly after the peak in thunderstorm activity. Wintertime acoustic wave activity has no discernable pattern in these data. Themore » coverage area of ionospheric gravity waves in the summer was found to increase with increasing thunderstorm activity. Wintertime gravity wave activity has an observable diurnal pattern unrelated to thunderstorm activity. These findings show that while thunderstorms are not the only, or dominant source of ionospheric perturbations at low-latitudes, they do have an observable effect on gravity wave activity and could be influential in acoustic wave activity.« less
  • Acoustic waves with periods of 2 - 4 minutes and gravity waves with periods of 6 - 16 minutes have been detected at ionospheric heights (250-350 km) using GPS Total Electron Content (TEC) measurements. The area disturbed by these waves and the wave amplitudes have been associated with underlying thunderstorm activity. A statistical study comparing NEXRAD radar thunderstorm measurements with ionospheric acoustic and gravity waves in the mid-latitude U.S. Great Plains region was performed for the time period of May - July 2005. An increase of ionospheric acoustic wave disturbed area and amplitude is primarily associated with large thunderstorms (mesoscalemore » convective systems). Ionospheric gravity wave disturbed area and amplitude scale with thunderstorm activity, with even small storms (i.e. individual storm cells) producing an increase of gravity waves.« less
  • Acoustic waves with periods of 2 - 4 minutes and gravity waves with periods of 6 - 16 minutes have been detected at ionospheric heights (250-350 km) using GPS Total Electron Content (TEC) measurements. The area disturbed by these waves and the wave amplitudes have been associated with underlying thunderstorm activity. A statistical study comparing NEXRAD radar thunderstorm measurements with ionospheric acoustic and gravity waves in the mid-latitude U.S. Great Plains region was performed for the time period of May - July 2005. An increase of ionospheric acoustic wave disturbed area and amplitude is primarily associated with large thunderstorms (mesoscalemore » convective systems). Ionospheric gravity wave disturbed area and amplitude scale with thunderstorm activity, with even small storms (i.e. individual storm cells) producing an increase of gravity waves.« less
  • Recent E region VHF backscatter echoes observed by the MU radar at mid-latitudes show quasi-periodic striations with a fairly constant range vs. time tilt in a RTI display. These features are explained in terms of gravity waves with frequencies close to the Brunt-Vaisala frequency which modulate the shape of sporadic E layers. The conditions of instability, when the magnetic field has a significant dip angle, is revised. Differing from previous work, the authors argue that conditions of local gradient drift instability are not sufficient and one has to consider the integrated properties of each magnetic filed tube. Stratified sporadic Emore » layers are stable using this new criteria, unless they are distorted to produce unstable integrated gradients. Gravity waves with phase fronts parallel to the magnetic dip angle are capable of producing such distortion, imposing its own temporal and spatial periodicity on the echoes.« less