92nd American Meteorological Society Annual Meeting (January 22-26, 2012)

Tuesday, 24 January 2012: 4:15 PM
Three Dimensional Tomographic Reconstruction of Equatorial Ionospheric Electron Density and Plasma Bubbles From DMSP/SSUSI Observations
Room 252/253 (New Orleans Convention Center )
Joseph Comberiate, Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Lab, Laurel, MD; and L. J. Paxton and C. M. Selby

Improving our ability to predict and mitigate the impacts of ionospheric scintillation on satellite communication and navigation systems requires new observations of the global morphology and climatology of scintillation-causing irregularities. The SSUSI (Special Sensor Ultraviolet Spectrographic Imager) instruments on-board the DMSP F16 and F18 satellites have global observations of the ionosphere at 8 PM local time from 2004 to the present. We have developed a technique for reconstructing three-dimensional ionospheric electron density profiles from SSUSI UV brightness observations at 135.6 nm. We also have developed a technique that routinely detects equatorial plasma bubbles in SSUSI data. Here we present a climatology of SSUSI plasma bubble observations (occurrence frequency as a function of parameters such as longitude, season, solar activity, etc.) which is the most comprehensive set of global observations ever at 8 PM local time. We also present three-dimensional electron density profile reconstructions which capture the morphology of large-scale gradients and density depletions. Finally, we explore the potential of these observed irregularities to interfere with trans-ionospheric communication at various frequencies.

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