EGU General Assembly 2020
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Inter-hemispheric comparison of the ionosphere-plasmasphere system from multi-instrumental/model approach.

Nicolas Bergeot1,2,3, John Bosco Habarulema4,5, Jean-Marie Chevalier1,2, Tshimangadzo Matamba4, Elisa Pinat1, Pierre Cilliers4, and Dalia Burešová6
Nicolas Bergeot et al.
  • 1Royal Observatory of Belgium, Brussels, Belgium (
  • 2Solar Terrestrial Center of Excellence, Brussels, Belgium
  • 3Université Catholique de Louvain, Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium
  • 4South African National Space Agency, Hermanus, South Africa
  • 5Department of Physics and Electronics, Rhodes University, Grahamstown, South Africa
  • 6Institute of Atmospheric Physics of the Czech Academy of Sciences, Prague, Czech Republic

An increasing demand for a better modelling and understanding of the Ionosphere-Plasmasphere system (I/Ps) is required for both scientific and public practical applications using electromagnetic wave signals reflecting on or passing through this layer. This is the case for the Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS, i.e. GPS, GLONASS, Galileo) and for spacecraft designers and operators who need to have a precise knowledge of the electron density distribution.

Additionally, despite the long-term ionospheric studies that have been on-going for many decades, a number of aspects are still complicated to understand and forecast accurately even in mid-latitude regions during quiet conditions. Performing inter-hemispherical climatological studies in European and South African regions should highlight differences/similarities in I/Ps response during different phases of solar activity and geophysical conditions.

In that frame, the Royal Observatory of Belgium (ROB) and the South African National Space Agency (SANSA) started a collaboration named “Interhemispheric Comparison of the Ionosphere-Plasmasphere System” (BEZA-COM). The goal is to provide inter-hemispheric comparison of the I/Ps implying: (1) a characterization of the climatological behavior of the Total Electron Content (TEC) in the I/Ps, over European, South African, Arctic and Antarctica regions; (2) an identification of the mechanisms that regulate inter-hemispheric differences, asymmetries and commonalities in the I/Ps from low to high-latitudes, (3) study of the different responses of the I/Ps during extreme solar events and induced geomagnetic storms in the two hemispheres.

In this paper, we reprocessed the GNSS data (GPS+GLONASS) of the dense EUREF Permanent GNSS Network (EPN) and South African TRIGNET networks as well as IGS stations for the period 1998-2018. The output consists in vertical Total Electron Content (vTEC), estimated every 15 min., and covering the central European and South African regions. The vTEC is then extracted at two conjugated locations and used to constrain empirical models to highlight the climatological behavior of the ionospheric vTEC over Europe and South Africa. From the results, we will show that the differences are quite significant. To give first answers on these differences, we also compared these models with ionosondes long-term data based models (for foF2 and hmF2) at two conjugated locations (Grahamstown and Průhonice) as well as long-term NRLMSISE O/N2 ratio.

How to cite: Bergeot, N., Habarulema, J. B., Chevalier, J.-M., Matamba, T., Pinat, E., Cilliers, P., and Burešová, D.: Inter-hemispheric comparison of the ionosphere-plasmasphere system from multi-instrumental/model approach. , EGU General Assembly 2020, Online, 4–8 May 2020, EGU2020-18657,, 2020

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Display material version 1 – uploaded on 06 May 2020
  • CC1: Comment on EGU2020-18657, Jaroslav Urbar, 07 May 2020

    Thank you for providing us with interesting results. I was just wondering whether the discretization with respect to the month of the year you have used was to separate different solar declination effects thorought the year?
    In our NN deep learning model we have used for the regional TEC solar forcing F10.7 and direct EUV the specific SZA (and I guess that would work as well for the cos(SZA) normalization between the two locations you have used?) 

    • AC1: Reply to CC1, Nicolas Bergeot, 07 May 2020

      THis is goo point. Yes, the discretisation with the month is to take into account for the SZA change. THis is also why we presneted the results for difference time definitions, and, at these latitudes, there is no  clear differences between SLT, MLT and UTC.