A Comprehensive Analysis of Ionospheric Variations Associated With the Sumatra Earthquake on December 26, 2004

Physics

Scientific paper

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2427 Ionosphere/Atmosphere Interactions (0335), 2435 Ionospheric Disturbances, 3384 Acoustic-Gravity Waves, 4564 Tsunamis And Storm Surges, 9800 General Or Miscellaneous

Scientific paper

There have been a number of reports that some of ionospheric variations originate from lower atmospheric disturbances. However, few direct relationships between lower atmospheric disturbances and ionospheric variations have been found. In the Sumatra earthquake on December 26, 2004, significant ionospheric variations were detected by various instruments just after the earthquake. A magnetic pulsation with a period of about 3.6 minutes was observed at Phimai (15.2N, 102.6E), Thailand about 10 minutes after the earthquake. The localized nature and oscillation period indicate that the magnetic pulsation is likely to be generated through a dynamo in the ionosphere caused by acoustic duct resonance between the sea surface and the bottom of the thermosphere. Traveling ionospheric disturbances (TIDs) were also detected by GPS/TEC and ionosonde observations at various locations after the earthquake. We have examined this event using observational data as well as a two-dimensional nonhydrostatic compressible atmosphere-ionosphere coupling model. A preliminary result of the numerical simulation implies that atmospheric oscillation with a period of 4 minutes is generated in the thermosphere, and that TIDs with a period of a few tens of minutes and a phase speed of several hundreds of m/s are produced. We discuss the mechanism of the ionospheric perturbations caused by the earthquake.

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