Global Positioning System (GPS) scintillation associated with a polar cap patch

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


  • P. Thayyil Jayachandran
  • Anthony M. McCaffrey
  • Yong Wang
  • Chris J Watson
  • Benjamin Reid
  • Qinghe Zhang
  • Zanyang Xing

Colleges, School and Institutes

External organisations

  • University of New Brunswick
  • Shandong University


A Global Positioning System (GPS) network in the polar cap, along with ionosonde and SuperDARN radar measurements, are used to study GPS signal amplitude and phase scintillation associated with a polar cap patch. The patch was formed due to a north-to-south transition of the interplanetary magnetic field (IMF Bz). The patch moved antisunward with an average speed of ~600 m/s and lasted for ~2 h. Significant scintillation occurred on the leading edge of the patch, with smaller bursts of scintillation inside and on the trailing edge. As the patch moved, it maintained the integrity of the scintillation, producing irregularities (Fresnel scale) on the leading edge. There were no convection shears or changes in the direction of convection during scintillation events. Observations suggest that scintillation-producing Fresnel scale structures are generated through the non-linear evolution of the gradient drift instability mechanism.


Original languageEnglish
Article number1915
Number of pages12
JournalRemote Sensing
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 13 May 2021


  • polar cap ionosphere, plasma irregularities, ionospheric scintillation, solar-terrestrial interaction, GNSS technology