Initial Description of the Local Ionospheric Response to Geomagnetic Storms
Santiago Mejia1, Ali Khan1, and Eduardo A. Araujo-Pradere2,3
Miami Dade College, North Campus Miami, FL 33167, 2Miami Dade College, Homestead Campus Miami, FL 33030,3School of Science, Technology, and Engineering Management, St. Thomas University, Miami Gardens, FL 33054.
Geomagnetic Storms are planet-wide disturbances of the Earth’s magnetic field. These storms are closely related with solar activity events, and could have catastrophic effects on systems such satellites, GPS systems, loss of electrical power, and irreversible damage to transformers and power stations. The overall objective of this project was to describe the response of our local ionosphere (described by foF2 and TEC) to geomagnetic activity (index ap), which depends on solar activity events. To fulfill our objective in this project, we used ionospheric data for TEC, foF2, and geomagnetic ap index for year 2015. The quiet values for foF2 and TEC were generated from the IRI (International Reference Ionosphere), with the latitude and longitude coordinates corresponding to St. Thomas University, FL. The foF2 disturbed values were obtained from the iono-sounder at the Eglin Air Force Base (EAFB). The TEC disturbed values and geomagnetic ap index were downloaded from the NGDC database (NOAA’s National Geophysical Datacenter). Each event is identified when ap values reached or went over 100 nT, resulting in 6 independent events being recorded. Finally, we created a script to organize and compare our values. We found that for Equinox and Summer events (1 to 5), the ionospheric parameters suffer a depletion when compared with the quiet reference, indicating a more active recombination process due to the presence of fresh molecular mass. For winter conditions (Event 6) the ionospheric parameters increase over the quiet mean, corresponding with a prevalence of atomic elements, resulting in a less predominant recombination process. These results agree with previously published studies of mid to mid-low ionosphere.