GPS TEC and scintillation measurements from the polar ionosphere during the October 2003 storm



[1] Severe ionospheric storms occurred at the end of October 2003. During the evening of 30 October a narrow stream of high electron concentration plasma crossed the polar cap in the antisunward ionospheric convection. A GPS scintillation receiver in the European high arctic, operating at 1.575 GHz, experienced both phase and amplitude scintillation on several satellite-to-ground links during this period. Close examination of the GPS signals revealed the scintillation to be co-located with strong gradients in Total Electron Content (TEC) at the edge of the plasma stream. The gradient-drift instability is a likely mechanism for the generation of the irregularities causing some of the scintillation at L band frequencies during this storm. The origin of the high TEC is explored and the possible implications of the work for scintillation forecasting are noted. The results indicate that the GPS scintillation over Svalbard can originate from traceable ionospheric plasma structures convecting from the American sector.