Detection of Solar Flares from the Analysis of Signal-to-Noise Ratio Recorded by Digisonde at Mid-Latitudes

Victor de Paula, Antoni Segarra, David Altadill, Juan José Curto, Estefania Blanch

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This work proposes a new indirect method to detect the impact of solar flares on ionospheric sounding measurements, i.e., on the signal-to-noise ratio of ionospheric reflected radio signals. The method allows us to detect and characterize the ionospheric absorption of high-frequency radio waves as a product of these energetic events. The detection is based on the estimation of the quiet conditions signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) pattern of the month and the subsequent comparison of this pattern with the SNR for the analyzed day. The method has been tested by using data from Ebro Observatory ionospheric station (DPS4D, EB040), but it can be applied to any other ionospheric station. At EB040, it can provide observational data to the international Service of Rapid Magnetic Variations (SRMV) to help confirm Sfe (Solar Flare Effects). To set up the method, we considered a data set of 262 solar flares that occurred during 2011–2014 and were observed during daylight hours at EB040 (17 X-class, 124 M-class, and 121 C-class). This led to impose a threshold of −20 dB in the SNR for at least four consecutive frequencies to confirm that a solar flare took place. The method is particularly sensitive for the detection of X-class solar flares, performs quite well with M-class events, and is even able to detect some C-class flares with high solar altitude angles. Furthermore, we studied some constraints that affect the detection of solar flares from the analysis of GOES-15 hard X-ray flux data about the considered events. For each flare, we computed its solar altitude angle at the time of the ionospheric sounding to get an estimation of its geoeffective irradiance, which had an effect on the local ionosphere. We can confirm that the method of detection is more effective with flares that present a solar elevation angle higher than 18.94, a geoeffective hard X-ray irradiance above 3.30 × 10−6 W/m2, and a geoeffective hard X-ray radiant exposure higher than 1.61 × 10−3 J/m2, computed during the 5 min preceding the ionospheric sounding.

Idioma originalAnglès
Número d’article1898
RevistaRemote Sensing
Estat de la publicacióPublicada - 1 d’abr. 2022


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