GPS observations of the ionospheric F2-layer behavior during the 20th November 2003 geomagnetic storm over South Korea


The ionospheric F2-layer peak density (NmF2) and its height (hmF2) are of great influence on the shape of the ionospheric electron density profile Ne (h) and may be indicative of other physical processes within the ionosphere, especially those due to geomagnetic storms. Such parameters are often estimated using models such as the semiempirical international reference ionosphere (IRI) models or are measured using moderately priced to expensive instrumentation, such as ionosondes or incoherent scatter radars. Global positioning system (GPS) observations have become a powerful tool for mapping high-resolution ionospheric structures, which can be used to study the ionospheric response to geomagnetic storms. In this paper, we describe how 3-D ionospheric electron density profiles were produced from data of the dense permanent Korean GPS network using the tomography reconstruction technique. These profiles are verified by independent ionosonde data. The responses of GPS-derived parameters at the ionospheric F2-layer to the 20th November 2003 geomagnetic storm over South Korea are investigated. A fairly large increase in the electron density at the F2-layer peak (the NmF2) (positive storm) has been observed during this storm, which is accompanied by a significant uplift in the height of the F2 layer peak (the hmF2). This is confirmed by independent ionosonde observations. We suggest that the F2-layer peak height uplift and NmF2 increase are mainly associated with a strong eastward electric field, and are not associated with the increase of the O/N2 ratio obtained from the GUVI instruments aboard the TIMED satellite. It is also inferred that the increase in NmF2 is not caused by the changes in neutral composition, but is related to other nonchemical effects, such as dynamical changes of vertical ion motions induced by winds and E\ \texttimes\ B drifts, tides and waves in the mesosphere/lower thermosphere region, which can be dynamically coupled upward to generate ionospheric perturbations and oscillations.

Year of Publication
Journal of Geodesy
Number of Pages
Date Published
ISSN Number
Download citation