MONITORING OF IONOSPHERIC SCINTILLATION PHENOMENA USING SYNTHETIC APERTURE RADAR (SAR)
Keywords: ionosphere, scintillations, synthetic aperture radar (SAR), total electron content (TEC), amplitude scintillation (S4)
Abstract. The applications of synthetic aperture radars (SAR) have increased manifold in the past decade, which includes numerous Earth observation applications such as agriculture, forestry, disaster monitoring cryospheric- and atmospheric- studies. Among them, the potential of SAR for ionospheric studies is gaining importance. The susceptibility of SAR to space weather dynamics, and ionosphere in particular, comes at low frequencies of L- and P-bands. This paper discusses one such scintillation event that was observed by L-band Advanced Land Observation Satellite (ALOS)-2 Phased Array L-type SAR (PALSAR) over southern India on March 23, 2015. The sensors also acquired data sets on four other days on which the ionosphere was quiet. Ionospheric parameter measurements of total electron content (TEC) and amplitude scintillation (S4) index from ground-based Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) receiver at Tirunelveli was used to establish the ionospheric conditions on the days of SAR acquisition as well as to corroborate the S4 estimated from SAR. Multi-temporal ALOS-2 data sets were utilized to calculate S4 from two separate methods and the results have a good agreement with GNSS receiver measurements. This highlights the potential of SAR as an alternate technique of monitoring ionospheric scintillations that can be utilized as complementary to the highly accurate and dedicated measurements from the GNSS networks.