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ISSN  2096-3955

CN  10-1502/P

Citation: Huang, F. Q., Lei, J. H., Xiong, C., Zhong, J. H., and Li, G. Z. (2021). Observations of equatorial plasma bubbles during the geomagnetic storm of October 2016. Earth Planet. Phys., 5(5), 416–426.

2021, 5(5): 416-426. doi: 10.26464/epp2021043


Observations of equatorial plasma bubbles during the geomagnetic storm of October 2016


Chinese Academy of Sciences Key Laboratory of Geospace Environment, School of Earth and Space Sciences, University of Science and Technology of China, Hefei 230026, China


Mengcheng National Geophysical Observatory, University of Science and Technology of China, Hefei 230026, China


Chinese Academy of Sciences Center for Excellence in Comparative Planetology, University of Science and Technology of China, Hefei 230026, China


Electronic Information School, Wuhan University, Wuhan 430072, China


Planetary Environmental and Astrobiological Research Laboratory, School of Atmospheric Sciences, Sun Yat-sen University, Zhuhai 519082, China


Chinese Academy of Sciences Key Laboratory of Earth and Planetary Physics, Institute of Geology and Geophysics, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100029, China


Beijing National Observatory of Space Environment, Institute of Geology and Geophysics, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100029, China

Corresponding author: JiuHou Lei,

Received Date: 2021-06-16
Web Publishing Date: 2021-08-16

We investigated the variations of equatorial plasma bubbles (EPBs) in the East-Asian sector during a strong geomagnetic storm in October 2016, based on observations from the Beidou geostationary (GEO) satellites, Swarm satellite and ground-based ionosonde. Significant nighttime depletions of F region in situ electron density from Swarm and obvious nighttime EPBs in the Beidou GEO observations were observed on 13 October 2016 during the main phase. Moreover, one interesting feature is that the rare and unique sunrise EPBs were triggered on 14 October 2016 in the main phase rather than during the recovery phase as reported by previous studies. In addition, the nighttime EPBs were suppressed during the whole recovery phase, and absent from 14 to 19 October 2016. Meanwhile, the minimum virtual height of F trace (h’F) at Sanya (18.3°N, 109.6°E, MLAT 11.1°N) displayed obvious changes during these intervals. The h’F was enhanced in the main phase and declined during the recovery phase, compared with the values at pre- and post-storm. These results indicate that the enhanced nighttime EPBs and sunrise EPBs during the main phase and the absence nighttime EPBs for many days during the recovery phase could be associated with storm-time electric field changes.

Key words: EPBs, ionospheric irregularities, Beidou GEO TEC, geomagnetic storm, electron density, electric field

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Observations of equatorial plasma bubbles during the geomagnetic storm of October 2016

FuQing Huang, JiuHou Lei, Chao Xiong, JiaHao Zhong, GuoZhu Li