Radio-tomographic images of postmidnight equatorial plasma depletions

Radio-tomographic images of postmidnight equatorial plasma depletions

Matthew A. Hei,1 Paul A. Bernhardt,2 Carl L. Siefring,2 Matthew R. Wilkens,1Joseph D. Huba,2 Jonathan F. Krall,2 Cesar E. Valladares,3 Roderick A. Heelis,4Marc R. Hairston,4 W. Robin Coley,4 Jorge L. Chau,5 and Cesar De La Jara6

1Sotera Defense Solutions, Herndon, Virginia, USA.2Plasma Physics Division, Naval Research Laboratory, Washington,District of Columbia, USA. 3InstituteforScientific Research, Boston College, Chestnut Hill,Massachusetts, USA. 4Center for Space Sciences, University of Texas at Dallas, Richardson,Texas, USA. 5Leibniz Institute of Atmospheric Physics, Rostock University,Kühlungsborn, Germany. 6Jicamarca Radio Observatory, Instituto Geofisico del Peru, Lima, Peru.

GEOPHYSICAL RESEARCH LETTER, VOL. 41, 13–19, doi:10.1002/2013GL056112, 2014

Correspondence to:

Corresponding author: M. A. Hei, Plasma Physics Division, Naval Research Laboratory, Code 6754, 4555 Overlook Ave. SW, Washington, D. C. 20375-0001, USA.
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Key Points:


Abstract:

For the first time, equatorial plasma depletions (EPDs) have been imaged in the longitude-altitude plane using radiotomography. High-resolution (~10 km) reconstructions of electron density were derived from total electron content (TEC) measurements provided by a receiver array in Peru. TEC data were obtained from VHF/UHF signals transmitted by the Coherent Electromagnetic Radio Tomography (CERTO) beacon on the C/NOFS satellite. EPDs generated premidnight were observed near dawn. On one night, the bubble densities were highly reduced, 100–1000 km wide, and embedded within a layerlike ionosphere. Three nights later, the EPDs exhibited similar features but were embedded in a locally uplifted ionosphere. The C/NOFS in situ instruments detected a dawn depletion where the reconstruction showed lifted EPDs, implying that the postmidnight electric fields raised sections of ionosphere to altitudes where embedded/ reactivated fossil EPDs were detected as dawn depletions. Satellites flying under domelike distortions of the ionosphere may observe these distortions as broad plasma decreases (BPDs). Citation: Hei, M. A., et al. (2014), Radio-tomographic images of postmidnight equatorial plasma depletions, Geophys. Res.ett., 41, 13–19, doi:10.1002/2013GL056112.

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