Pronounced Suppression and X-Pattern Merging of Equatorial Ionization Anomalies After the 2022 Tonga Volcano Eruption

Following the 2022 Tonga Volcano eruption, dramatic suppression and deformation of the equatorial ionization anomaly (EIA) crests occurred in the American sector ∼14,000 km away from the epicenter. The EIA crests variations and associated ionosphere-thermosphere disturbances were investigated using Global Navigation Satellite System total electron content data, Global-scale Observations of the Limb and Disk ultraviolet images, Ionospheric Connection Explorer wind data, and ionosonde observations. The main results are as follows: (a) Following the eastward passage of expected eruption-induced atmospheric disturbances, daytime EIA crests, especially the southern one, showed severe suppression of more than 10 TEC Unit and collapsed equatorward over 10° latitudes, forming a single band of enhanced density near the geomagnetic equator around 14–17 UT, (b) Evening EIA crests experienced a drastic deformation around 22 UT, forming a unique X-pattern in a limited longitudinal area between 20 and 40°W. (c) Thermospheric horizontal winds, especially the zonal winds, showed long-lasting quasi-periodic fluctuations between ±200 m/s for 7–8 hr after the passage of volcano-induced Lamb waves. The EIA suppression and X-pattern merging was consistent with a westward equatorial zonal dynamo electric field induced by the strong zonal wind oscillation with a westward reversal.
Year of Publication
Journal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics
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