Earthquake Science

, Volume 24, Issue 6, pp 557–564 | Cite as

Atmosphere-ionosphere response to the M9 Tohoku earthquake revealed by multi-instrument space-borne and ground observations: Preliminary results

  • Dimitar OuzounovEmail author
  • Sergey Pulinets
  • Alexey Romanov
  • Alexander Romanov
  • Konstantin Tsybulya
  • Dmitri Davidenko
  • Menas Kafatos
  • Patrick Taylor


We retrospectively analyzed the temporal and spatial variations of four different physical parameters characterizing the state of the atmosphere and ionosphere several days before the M9 Tohoku, Japan earthquake of March 11, 2011. The data include outgoing long wave radiation (OLR), GPS/TEC, lower Earth orbit ionospheric tomography and critical frequency foF2. Our first results show that on March 7th a rapid increase of emitted infrared radiation was observed from the satellite data and an anomaly developed near the epicenter. The GPS/TEC data indicate an increase and variation in electron density reaching a maximum value on March 8. Starting from this day in the lower ionosphere also there was confirmed an abnormal TEC variation over the epicenter. From March 3 to 11 a large increase in electron concentration was recorded at all four Japanese ground-based ionosondes, which returned to normal after the main earthquake. The joint preliminary analysis of atmospheric and ionospheric parameters during the M9 Tohoku, Japan earthquake has revealed the presence of related variations of these parameters implying their connection with the earthquake process. This study may lead to a better understanding of the response of the atmosphere/ionosphere to the great Tohoku earthquake.

Key words

Tohoku earthquake thermal anomaly GPS/TEC earthquake precursor early warning 

CLC number



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Copyright information

© The Seismological Society of China and Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Dimitar Ouzounov
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Sergey Pulinets
    • 3
    • 5
  • Alexey Romanov
    • 4
  • Alexander Romanov
    • 4
  • Konstantin Tsybulya
    • 3
  • Dmitri Davidenko
    • 3
  • Menas Kafatos
    • 1
  • Patrick Taylor
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of PhysicsChapman UniversityOrangeUSA
  2. 2.NASA Goddard Space Flight CenterGreenbeltUSA
  3. 3.Institute of Applied GeophysicsMoscowRussia
  4. 4.Russian Space SystemsMoscowRussia
  5. 5.Space Research Institute RASMoscowRussia

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