Thunderstorm-/lightning-induced ionospheric perturbation: An observation from equatorial and low-latitude stations around Hong Kong

Sanjay Kumar, Wu Chen, Mingli Chen, Zhizhao Liu, R. P. Singh

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)


Total electron content (TEC) computed from the network of Global Positioning System over Hong Kong area known as Hong Kong Sat-Ref-network has been used to study perturbation in the ionosphere from thunder storm activity. Data for geomagnetic quiet day (Kp < 4, on 1 April 2014) have been analyzed. The lightning activity was measured from Total Lightning sensor LS8000 over/around the Hong Kong region. Deviation in vertical TEC (DTEC) and the rate of change of TEC index (ROTI) have been derived and compared for lightning day of 1 April 2014 and nonlightning day of 7 April 2014. An analysis showed reduction in TEC during evening hour (up to 1245 UT), whereas an enhancement during nighttime hour on the lightning day is observed. The variations in DTEC during nonlightning day are found to be insignificant in comparison to that during the lightning day. The ionospheric perturbation in TEC has been noticed up to a distance around ~500 km and more from the lightning center. ROTI is found to vary from 3 to 60 total electron content unit (TECU)/min (1 TECU = 1016 el m−2) on the day of thunderstorm activity, whereas ROTI is insignificant on nonlightning days. Signature of density bubbles in slant TEC data and periodicities (10–100 min) in DTEC data are observed. For the same pseudorandom numbers (1, 10, 13, 23, and 28) strong amplitude scintillations are also observed at a close by station. Amplitude scintillations are proposed to be caused by plasma bubbles. The results are tentatively explained by thunderstorm-induced electric fields and gravity waves.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)9032-9044
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2017


  • gravity waves
  • ionosphere
  • ionospheric irregularities
  • lightning

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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