In this study, the characteristics and causes of the seasonal variations in plasma bubble occurrence over the Hong Kong area were investigated using the local Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) network. Generally, the occurrences of plasma bubbles were larger in the two equinoxes than in the two solstices. Furthermore, two seasonal asymmetries in plasma bubble occurrence were observed: plasma bubble activity was more frequent in the spring equinox than in the autumn equinox (equinoctial asymmetry), and more frequent in the summer solstice than in the winter solstice (solstitial asymmetry). The equinoctial asymmetry could be explained using the Rayleigh-Taylor (R-T) instability mechanism, due to larger R-T growth rates in the spring equinox than in the autumn equinox. However, the R-T growth rate was smaller in the summer solstice than in the winter solstice, suggesting the R-T instability mechanism was inapplicable to the solstitial asymmetry. Our results showed there were more zonally propagating atmospheric gravity waves (GWs) induced by thunderstorm events over the Hong Kong area in the summer solstice than the winter solstice. So, the solstitial asymmetry could be attributed to the seeding mechanism of thunderstorm-driven atmospheric GWs.
- Plasma bubble occurrence
- Seasonal variation
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Earth and Planetary Sciences(all)