Distinct ionospheric response to three different geomagnetic storms during 2016 using GPS-TEC observations over the Indian equatorial and low latitude sectors

The ionospheric response during three distinct geomagnetic storms occurred in the year 2016 is investigated using GPS-TEC observations in the Indian equatorial and low latitude sectors. The three geomagnetic storms are considered for this study which were occurred on 20 January 2016 (2230 LT), 6 March 2016 (0230 LT) and 13 October 2016 (0530 LT) with minimum Sym-H values of −95 nT, −110 nT and −114 nT respectively. These three geomagnetic storms are different from one another in the sustainment of main and recovery phases and are occurred at three different local times corresponding to the Indian longitudes. This study brings out the major differences of these three geomagnetic storms characteristics and their distinct effects on the equatorial and low latitude ionosphere. Significant changes in the VTEC during main and recovery phases of these three storms are found to be mainly associated with prompt penetration electric fields and thermospheric neutral compositional changes. During the storm of 20 January 2016, positive storm effects during main and recovery phases of the storm are in association with the penetration electric fields. The complete main phase for the 6 March 2016 geomagnetic storm was occurred during night time and no changes in VTEC has been identified, which could be due to the weak background electron density. A positive storm effect is noticed during the recovery phases of the storms of 6 March 2016 and 13 October 2016, due to the storm induced electric fields differences and in particular due to the enhanced [O]/[N2] ratio in thermospheric composition. A strong positive storm effect caused by Co-rotating Interacting Region (CIR) induced disturbances after the 13 October 2016 storm is also discussed.
Year of Publication
Advances in Space Research
Number of Pages
Date Published
ISSN Number