This study examines an unexpected and extreme positive ionospheric response to a minor magnetic storm on August 5, 2019 by using global ionosphere specification (GIS) 3D electron density profiles obtained by assimilating radio occultation total electron content (TEC) measurements of the recently launched FORMOSAT-7/COSMIC-2 satellites, and ground-based global navigation satellite system (GNSS) TEC. The results reveal ∼300% enhancement of equatorial ionization anomaly (EIA) crests, appearing over 200–300 km altitudes, and a much intense localized density enhancement over the European sector. These are the most intense ionospheric response that has ever been detected for a small magnetic storm with Dst ∼ −53 nT (SYM-H ∼ −64 nT). The enhancements are validated by using global ionosphere map (GIM) TEC and ground-based GNSS TEC. The GIS vertical electron density structures during the storm are examined to understand the physical processes giving rise to such an intense ionosphere response during deep solar minimum conditions when the background electron density is very low. Altitude variations and poleward shifts of the locations of the EIA crests indicate that prompt penetration electric fields (PPEF) play an important role in producing the observed positive storm responses, with the storm-induced equatorward circulation supporting the plasma accumulation against recombination losses. Additional physical mechanisms are required to fully explain the unexpected electron density enhancements for this minor storm event.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Space and Planetary Science