, Volume 24, Issue 2, pp 139-184

Effects on the Ionosphere Due to Phenomena Occurring Below it

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Abstract

The terrestrial thermosphere and ionosphere form the most variable part of theEarth's atmosphere. Because our society depends on technological systems thatcan be affected by thermospheric and ionospheric phenomena, understanding,monitoring and ultimately forecasting the changes of the thermosphere–ionosphere system are of crucial importance to communications, navigation and the exploration of near-Earth space. The reason for the extreme variability of the thermosphere–ionosphere system isits rapid response to external forcing from various sources, i.e., thesolar ionizing flux, energetic charged particles and electric fields imposed via the interaction between the solar wind, magnetosphere and ionosphere, as well as coupling from below (“meteorological influences”) by the upward propagating, broad spectrum,internal atmospheric waves (planetary waves, tides, gravity waves) generated in thestratosphere and troposphere. Thunderstorms, typhoons, hurricanes, tornadoes andeven seismological events may also have observable consequences in the ionosphere.The release of trace gases due to human activity have the potential to cause changes inthe lower and the upper atmosphere.A brief overview is presented concerning the discoveries and experimentalresults that have confirmed that the ionosphere is subject to meteorologicalcontrol (especially for geomagnetic quiet conditions and for middle latitudes).D-region aeronomy, the winter anomaly of radiowave absorption, wave-liketravelling ionospheric disturbances, the non-zonality and regional peculiaritiesof lower thermospheric winds, sporadic-E occurrence and structure, spread-Fevents, the variability of ionospheric electron density profiles and Total ElectronContent, the variability of foF2, etc., should all be considered in connection withtropospheric and stratospheric processes. “Ionospheric weather”, as a part of spaceweather, (i.e., hour-to-hour and day-to-day variability of the ionospheric parameters)awaits explanation and prediction within the framework of the climatological, seasonal,and solar-cycle variations.