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Keywords:

  • ionospheric variability;
  • sudden stratospheric warming

[1] Sudden stratospheric warming (SSW) is a large-scale meteorological process in the winter hemisphere lasting several days or weeks. The Incoherent Scatter World Day campaign conducted on January 17–February 1, 2008 was arranged during a minor SSW event and focuses on studies of thermospheric and ionospheric response to stratospheric changes. We analyze ion temperature observations at 100–300 km height obtained by the Millstone Hill incoherent scatter radar (42.6°N, 288.5°E). Alternating regions of warming in the lower thermosphere and cooling above 150km altitude were observed by the radar. We use National Center for Environmental Prediction (NCEP) temperature data at 10hPa (∼30km) level and the F10.7 and Ap indices to identify any cause-effect relationship between observed variations in the temperature and stratospheric warming event. We conclude that the seasonal trend, solar flux and geomagnetic activity cannot account for the observed warming and cooling temperature variation and suggest that this variation is associated with stratospheric warming. This study demonstrates a link between the lower atmosphere and the ionosphere which has not been considered before and indicates that ionospheric variability as part of space weather should be considered in conjunction with stratospheric changes.