(THE GIST OF PIB) Ionosphere

(THE GIST OF PIB) Ionosphere



  • A team of scientists from the Indian Institute of Geomagnetism (IIG) have examined the long-term seasonal ionospheric observations at Indian Antarctica station Bharati between 2010 and 2022 and also with solar activity following the Sun's 11-year cycle.

About Ionosphere:

  • It is a part of Earth’s upper atmosphere, which is partially ionised, extending from 100-1000 km.
  • The ionosphere at polar regions is highly dynamic and acts as a major energy sink for space weather events, and related processes in magnetosphere-ionosphere systems as the magnetic field lines are vertical in this region.
  • It is an interesting layer which overlaps the mesosphere, thermosphere, and exosphere.
  • It’s a very active part of the atmosphere, and it grows and shrinks depending on the energy it absorbs from the sun. 
  • The ionospheric observations in Antarctica are few compared to the Arctic region due to geographic limitations and limited number of stations.

Key points:

  • Decade-long ionospheric observations at Bharati station, Antarctica, found a substantial seasonal variation with maximum total electron count (TEC) in equinoctial months followed by the summer and winter.
  • The scientists attributed the peak ionisation to particle precipitation and transportation of convectional plasma from high latitudes.
  • Also, the maximum ionospheric density in the summer months where 24 hours sunlight is present (polar days), was about twice more than that of polar nights at the Bharati region.
  • Significance of the study: Such long-term studies can help understand effects of the ionosphere on satellite-based navigation and communication systems and to mitigate them.



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Courtesy: PIB