Typhoon Melor and ionospheric weather in the Asian sector: A case study



[1] The Space Environment Group of the National Institute of Information and Communications Technology, Tokyo, Japan, operates four ionosondes at Okinawa, Yamagawa, Kokubunjii, and Wakkanai in the Asian sector. Okinawa is located at the lowest latitude and lies at the northern edge of the northern equatorial anomaly, while Wakkanai is located at the higher latitudes of the midlatitude ionosphere. For this study, ionograms obtained from the Internet are analyzed using the automated Expert System for Ionogram Reduction (ESIR). An anomalous 3 day foF2enhancement observed by the Wakkanai ionosonde from 9 to 11 October 2009 forms the basis for this study. The scientific question being addressed pertains to the remarkably quiescent geomagnetic activity experienced during the extended solar minimum between cycles 23 and 24 that enables a search for the ionospheric response to weather in the lower atmosphere. The analysis of the ionograms from these four stations using the proprietary ESIR technique provides an extended database of electron density profiles that describes the ionospheric variability as a function of latitude, local time, and season. In addition, independent observations of the ionospheric TEC used by the USU Global Assimilation of Ionospheric Measurements (GAIM) model verify the anomalous ionospheric behavior as well as establishing its extent. Typical solar minimum conditions were seen during this study, with geomagnetic activity restricted to well-characterized corotating interaction region (CIR) events. After eliminating geomagnetic and solar disturbances as drivers of the October 2009 anomaly, the presence of Typhoon Melor is suggested as a possible source mechanism for the ionospheric anomaly.