Observational study of ionospheric irregularities and GPS scintillations associated with the 2012 tropical cyclone Tembin passing Hong Kong

Zhe Yang, Zhizhao Liu

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

28 Citations (Scopus)


This study presents the ionospheric responses observed in Hong Kong to a Typhoon, namely, Tembin, from the aspects of the occurrence of ionospheric irregularities and scintillations, using Global Positioning System (GPS) observations from a ground-based GPS scintillation monitoring station in Hong Kong and from GPS receivers on board the Constellation Observing System for Meteorology, Ionosphere, and Climate (COSMIC) satellites. The ionospheric irregularities and scintillations are characterized by the rate of total electron content variation index (ROTI) and the amplitude scintillation index S4, respectively. The typhoon Tembin formed over the western North Pacific during 18–30 August 2012 and approached Hong Kong during 24–27 August 2012 with the closest distance 290 km from Hong Kong at around 17 universal time (UT) on 25 August 2012. The ground-based observations indicate that in the nighttime period of 20:00–02:00 local time (LT = UT + 8 h) on 26 August when Tembin passed closely to Hong Kong, the ionospheric irregularities and scintillations of GPS signals were observed in the south of Hong Kong, over the area of 13°N ~ 23°N in latitude and 110°E ~ 120°E in longitude. From the COSMIC observations, it shows that the number of radio occultation scintillation events peaks on 26 August 2012 during the passage of Tembin. Without the presence of strong geomagnetic or solar activity, it is suspected that gravity waves might be generated in the lower atmosphere and likely seed the formation of ionospheric plasma irregularities. This work for the first time from Hong Kong observes the sign of coupling between the lower atmosphere and ionosphere in a tropical cyclone event, combining both ground- and space-based GPS observation data.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4705-4717
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2016


  • Global Positioning System (GPS)
  • GPS Radio Occultation
  • ionospheric irregularity and scintillation
  • tropical cyclone

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geophysics
  • Forestry
  • Oceanography
  • Aquatic Science
  • Ecology
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Soil Science
  • Geochemistry and Petrology
  • Earth-Surface Processes
  • Atmospheric Science
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Space and Planetary Science
  • Palaeontology


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