When you look at a map of the world showing the location of ground-based space physics instrumentation (radars, magnetometers, ionosondes, GPS dual-frequency receivers, and lidars), you quickly recognize Africa's lack of space physics research infrastructure. One priority of the United Nations—sponsored International Heliophysical Year (IHY) is the development of such an infrastructure in Africa.
Satellite data have shown that the equatorial ionospheric density structures, especially at the equatorial region in the African continent, respond to space weather effects differently than do other parts of the Earth. For example, in the African equatorial region, satellite observations show that depleted density irregularities known as bubbles are much deeper than the bubbles observed in any other longitudinal sectors, and are very active year round in Africa compared with other regions. Observations also show that the depleted density in Africa rises to high altitude (up to 1000+ kilometers) more frequently compared with other longitudes.