Northwest Research Associates, Inc.

Ionospheric Scintillation

Scintillation at Solar Maximum Conditions

The scintillation maps provided here are indicative of conditions expected during solar maximum conditions. These have been generated for the year 2011 using a sunspot number of 140. This is based on the "big" cycle prediction from the joint NOAA-NASA prediction for Solar Cycle 24 presented at the April 2007 Space Weather Workshop. The level of scintillation activity closely follows the 11-year cycle solar cycle, because there is more plasma in the ionosphere at solar maximum and thus more plasma that can become structured and cause scintillation on radio signals. These predictions are for the same geographical regions and times of day for which we will provide daily forecasts.

These predictions are from a climatology of the distribution of the level of scintillation activity observed in the selected locations and times for solar maximum conditions. For the three equatorial cases, we have selected the scintillation levels corresponding to the 90th percentile in the climatology. For the two high-latitude cases, we have selected the 50th percentile.

Equatorial Region

These maps show the probability that the S4 intensity scintillation index exceeds 0.5 (an indication of moderate/high scintillation levels) on ground-to-geostationary paths in three equatorial sectors for solar maximum conditions. In each map, the location of the satellite is indicated by a black star.

Environmental conditions and system parameters used in model:

Picture Far East Sector - 21 March 2011 - 1330 UT (44KB)

Picture Middle East Sector - 21 March 2011 - 1800 UT (42KB)

Picture South America Sector - 01 March 2011 - 0100 UT (49KB)

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High-latitude Region

These maps show the distribution of the height-integrated strength (denoted CkL) of the electron-density irregularities that cause scintillation over the northern auroral and polar regions for a particular time. The time of the first map (0600 GMT) was selected to place the midnight sector over Canada and the US, and the time of the second map (2300 GMT) was selected to place the midnight sector over northern Europe.

Environmental conditions used in model:

Picture American Sector - 0600 UT (51KB)

Picture European Sector - 2300 UT (52KB)

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For more information on scintillation or SCINTMOD, send e-mail to:

All images were generated using the public-domain Generic Mapping Tool (GMT) graphics package.
PostScript to GIF conversions are made with the Image Alchemy PS program from Handmade Software, Inc.

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