Dynamics of the high-latitude ionospheric irregularities during the 17 March 2015 St. Patrick\textquoterights Day storm: Ground-based GPS measurements


We report first results on the study of the high-latitude ionospheric irregularities observed in worldwide GPS data during the St. Patrick\textquoterights Day geomagnetic storm (17 March 2015). Multisite GPS observations from more than 2500 ground-based GPS stations were used to analyze the dynamics of the ionospheric irregularities in the Northern and Southern Hemispheres. The most intense ionospheric irregularities lasted for more than 24 h starting at 07 UT of 17 March. This period correlates well with an increase of the auroral Hemispheric Power index. We find hemispheric asymmetries in the intensity and spatial structure of the ionospheric irregularities. Over North America, the ionospheric irregularities zone expanded equatorward below ~45\textdegreeN geographic latitude. Additionally, the strong midlatitude and high-latitude GPS phase irregularities in the auroral oval were found to be related to the formation of storm enhanced density and deepening of the main ionospheric trough through upper atmosphere ionization by energetic particle precipitation. Significant increases in the intensity of the irregularities within the polar cap region of both hemispheres were associated with the formation and evolution of the storm enhanced density/tongue of ionization structures and polar patches.

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Space Weather
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