Impact of the intense geomagnetic storm of August 2018 on the equatorial and low latitude ionosphere

We study the impact of an intense geomagnetic storm of 25–26 August 2018 on the equatorial and low latitude ionosphere over Asia, Africa, and America. For this purpose, we have used storm-time observations from multi-site ground-based Global Positioning System receivers and magnetic observatories located at equatorial and low latitudes along the three longitudes. The storm-time variation of the electron density is assessed by the global, regional, and vertical total electron content obtained from the GPS receiver data. Both positive phases of the storm and negative ones are observed in the three longitudinal sectors during the main phase until the late recovery phases of the storm. A significant increase in the electron density around the equatorial ionization anomaly crests is seen during the main phase of the storm. The storm-time response of the thermosphere is characterized by the global \$\mathrm\\frac\O\\N\_\2\\\\$maps provided by the Global Ultraviolet Spectrographic Imager onboard the satellite Thermosphere Ionosphere Mesosphere Energetics and Dynamics. The expected hemispheric asymmetry of the thermosphere can be associated with possible differences in heating and convection in the middle and lower latitudes. Moreover, the unprecedented behavior of the neutrals over the East-African and Asian longitudes can be attributed to the strong northward meridional wind circulations. Finally, the storm-induced disturbances of the horizontal component of the Earth’s magnetic field and the ionospheric electric currents have been investigated by ground-based magnetometers data. A large decrease in the horizontal component of the geomagnetic field is observed over the local dayside sector (Asian) that is associated with the enhanced ring current effect. The wavelet analysis of the magnetic data indicates the existence of short-term and diurnal oscillations during the storm period. These oscillations are associated with the prompt penetration and the disturbance of dynamo-electric fields. It can be inferred that physical factors such as the ionospheric electrodynamics, the thermosphere neutral composition, and the neutral wind circulations play an important role in the observed storm-time response of the ionosphere.
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Astrophysics and Space Science
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