Journal of Geodesy and Geoinformation Science ›› 2023, Vol. 6 ›› Issue (4): 48-69.doi: 10.11947/j.JGGS.2023.0405

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Suppression of Plasma Bubbles over South America under Weak Geomagnetic Perturbations

Xunzhe YIN(), Dongjie YUE(), Changzhi ZHAI, Yutian CHEN, Xiaoyun CHENG   

  1. School of Earth Sciences and Engineering, Hohai University, Nanjing 210098, China
  • Received:2023-06-15 Accepted:2023-08-25 Online:2023-12-20 Published:2024-02-06
  • Contact: Dongjie YUE;
  • About author:Xunzhe YIN E-mail:
  • Supported by:
    National Natural Science Foundation of China(42104009);China Postdoctoral Science Foundation(2022M720988);Postgraduate Research & Practice Innovation Program of Jiangsu Province(KYCX22_0663)


During a long-term Equatorial Plasma Bubbles (EPBs) occurrence between October 2020 and March 2021, a significant EPB suppression event was identified on November 22 and the observations from multi-instrument have been utilized to investigate this event. Global-scale Observations of the Limb and Disk (GOLD) satellite observed prominent EPBs between 23:40 UT and 23:55 UT during the long-term occurrence days. However, no dark stripes representing EPBs were observed on November 22, and the Equatorial Ionization Anomaly (EIA) structure remained intact. The Total Electron Content (TEC) maps show that these EPBs appeared in the region between 35°W and 65°W longitudes and the magnitudes of the TEC loss in EPBs regions were about 20 TECU. Except for 22 November, the S4 index was consistently greater than 0.6 throughout November, indicating significant ionospheric scintillation. The Rate Of TEC Index (ROTI) maps revealed that the spatial extent and intensity of EPBs increased after their suppression, and the EPBs were locally generated. The swarm electron density measurements indicated that the variation amplitudes of EPBs at 510km altitude were approximately 3 to 5 times larger than that at 460km altitude. The impact region of EPBs at 510km was between 15°S and 20°N latitudes, while at 460km, it was between 0° and 17°N latitudes. During the period of EPB suppression, the average h’f at three ionosonde stations decreased by about 50km, and the vertical drift velocity (Vz) approached ~0m/s while it was more than 20 m/s during the long-term occurrence.

Key words: plasma bubble; ionospheric scintillation; weak geomagnetic perturbations