Correlation between scintillation indices and gradient drift wave amplitudes in the northern polar ionosphere

Robert Burston, Ivan Astin, Cathryn N Mitchell, L Alfonsi, T Pedersen, S Skone

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A model is developed of the gradient drift instability growth rate in the north polar cap ionosphere, utilizing a novel approach employing an ionospheric imaging algorithm. The growth rate values calculated by this model are in turn used to estimate how the amplitudes of actual gradient drift waves vary over time as the plasma drifts and the growth rates change with time. Ionospheric imaging is again used in order to determine plasma drift velocities. The final output from the model is in turn used to assess the linear correlation between the scintillation indices S-4 and sigma(phi) recorded by several GPS L1 band scintillation receivers stationed in the north polar cap and mean gradient drift wave amplitudes. Four separate magnetic storm periods, totaling 13 days, are analyzed in this way. The results show weak but significant linear correlations between the mean wave amplitudes calculated and the observed scintillation indices at F layer altitudes.
Original languageEnglish
Article numberA07309
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research
Issue numberA7
Early online date20 Jul 2009
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2009



  • instability model
  • high-latitude ionosphere
  • plasma patches
  • density
  • cap
  • electric potentials

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