A team of scientists from the Indian Institute of Geomagnetism (IIG) have examined the long-term seasonal ionospheric observations at Indian Antarctica station Bharati between 2010 and 2022 and also with solar activity following the Sun’s 11-year cycle.
GS I: Geography
Dimensions of the Article:
- About the Ionosphere
About the Ionosphere:
Definition and Location:
- The ionosphere is a segment of Earth’s upper atmosphere, spanning an altitude range of 100-1000 km.
- Positioned above the mesosphere, thermosphere, and exosphere, it is partially ionized and exhibits dynamic behavior.
Polar Regions Dynamics:
- At polar regions, the ionosphere is particularly dynamic, serving as a significant energy sink for space weather events within the magnetosphere-ionosphere system.
- Vertical magnetic field lines in polar areas contribute to unique interactions.
Active Atmosphere Layer:
- Overlapping with multiple atmospheric layers, including the mesosphere, thermosphere, and exosphere, the ionosphere is characterized by constant growth and shrinkage.
- Its activity is closely tied to solar energy absorption.
- Being a highly active atmospheric layer, the ionosphere’s dimensions fluctuate based on solar energy absorption.
- It plays a vital role in space weather events.
Observational Challenges in Antarctica:
- Observations in the ionosphere over Antarctica are relatively limited compared to the Arctic due to geographical constraints and a sparse station network.
- Long-term observations at Bharati station, Antarctica, revealed substantial seasonal variations in total electron count (TEC), with equinoctial months exhibiting maximum ionization.
- Particle precipitation and convectional plasma transport from high latitudes were identified as contributing factors.
Seasonal Density Variations:
- During polar days with 24 hours of sunlight in the summer, the ionospheric density was approximately twice that of polar nights in the Bharati region.
- Decade-long studies provide insights into the ionosphere’s impact on satellite-based navigation and communication systems.
- Understanding these effects aids in developing mitigation strategies.
-Source: The Hindu, PIB