Decade-long data from Antarctic station released | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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Decade-long data from Antarctic station released

By, New Delhi
Dec 28, 2023 01:35 AM IST

Officials said that scientists have found that the total electron count (TEC) in the ionosphere peaks in the region during equinoctial months.

Scientists from the Indian Institute of Geomagnetism (IIG) have made a significant discovery to understand the seasonal variations in the density of ionosphere over Antarctica based on decade-long records from the Indian Antarctic station, Bharati, researchers said.

The findings are based on recordings between 2010 and 2022 at the Bharati station. (HT Archive)
The findings are based on recordings between 2010 and 2022 at the Bharati station. (HT Archive)

Read here: British research ship encounters giant iceberg as it drifts out of Antarctica

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Senior officials from the department of science and technology (DST), which oversees the operations of IIG, said that the findings are based on recordings between 2010 and 2022 at the Bharati station.

Officials said that scientists have found that the total electron count (TEC) – the total number of electrons present along a path between a radio transmitter and receiver — in the ionosphere peaks in the region during equinoctial months — the time when the sun crosses the plane of the Earth’s equator, making night and day of approximately equal length all over the Earth — followed by the summer and the winter seasons.

“The ionosphere is a part of Earth’s upper atmosphere, which is partially ionised, extending from 100-1000 km. The ionosphere at polar regions is highly dynamic and acts as a major energy sink for space weather events, and related processes in magnetosphere-ionosphere systems as the magnetic field lines are vertical in this region. The ionospheric observations in Antarctica are few compared to the Arctic region due to geographic limitations and limited number of stations,” a statement by DST read.

The DST statement also highlighted that the findings hold significant implications for satellite-based navigation and communication systems. Data related to the seasonal variations will help scientists understand potential disruptions caused by changes in the ionosphere, which can aid in improving the efficiency of upcoming technology.

Scientists said that it was observed that though there was no sunlight incidence throughout the day in winter months (polar nights) at Bharati station, a diurnal pattern was observed with peak ionospheric density near local noon.

Read here: Explained: How is world's largest iceberg drifting away from Antarctica?

“The day-night ionospheric density variations were observed regardless of 24 hours of sunlight in summer and complete darkness in winter. The scientists attributed the peak ionisation to particle precipitation and transportation of convectional plasma from high latitudes. Also, the maximum ionospheric density in the summer months where 24 hours sunlight is present (polar days), was about twice as much as that of polar nights in the Bharati region,” the statement further read.

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