Plasma density gradients at the edge of polar ionospheric holes: the absence of phase scintillation
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Original versionAnnales Geophysicae. 2020, 38 (2), 575–590. 10.5194/angeo-38-575-2020
Polar holes were observed in the high-latitude ionosphere during a series of multi-instrument case studies close to the Northern Hemisphere winter solstice in 2014 and 2015. These holes were observed during geomagnetically quiet conditions and under a range of solar activities using the European Incoherent Scatter (EISCAT) Svalbard Radar (ESR) and measurements from Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) receivers. Steep electron density gradients have been associated with phase scintillation in previous studies; however, no enhanced scintillation was detected within the electron density gradients at these boundaries. It is suggested that the lack of phase scintillation may be due to low plasma density levels and a lack of intense particle precipitation. It is concluded that both significant electron density gradients and plasma density levels above a certain threshold are required for scintillation to occur.