Climatology characterization of equatorial plasma bubbles using GPS data

Sergio Magdaleno, Miguel Herraiz, David Altadill, Benito A. De La Morena

Research output: Indexed journal article Articlepeer-review

28 Citations (Scopus)


The climatology of equatorial plasma bubbles (EPBs) for the period 1998-2008 was studied using slant total electron content (sTEC) derived from global positioning system (GPS) data. The sTEC values were calculated from data measured at 67 International GNSS Service (IGS) stations distributed worldwide around the geomagnetic equator and embracing the region of the ionospheric equatorial anomaly (IEA). EPBs and their characteristics were obtained using the Ionospheric Bubble Seeker (IBS) application, which detects and distinguishes sTEC depletions associated with EPBs. This technique bases its analysis on the time variation of the sTEC and on the population variance of this time variation. IBS finds an EPB by default when an sTEC depletion is greater than 5 TEC units (TECu). The analysis of the spatial behavior shows that the largest rate of EPB takes place at the equator and in the South America-Africa sector, while their occurrence decreases as the distance from the magnetic equator increases. The depth and duration of the sTEC depletions also maximize at the equator and in the South America-Africa sector and weaken departing from the equator. The results of the temporal analysis for the data of the IGS stations located in AREQ, NKLG, IISC, and GUAM indicate that the greatest rate of EPB occurrence is observed for high solar activity.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberA3
JournalJournal of Space Weather and Space Climate
Publication statusPublished - 2017


  • Aeronomy
  • Ionosphere (equatorial)
  • Plasma physics
  • Remote sensing
  • Total electron content


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