Articles | Volume 22, issue 5
Research article
11 Sep 2015
Research article |  | 11 Sep 2015

The transient variation in the complexes of the low-latitude ionosphere within the equatorial ionization anomaly region of Nigeria

A. B. Rabiu, B. O. Ogunsua, I. A. Fuwape, and J. A. Laoye

Abstract. The quest to find an index for proper characterization and description of the dynamical response of the ionosphere to external influences and its various internal irregularities has led to the study of the day-to-day variations of the chaoticity and dynamical complexity of the ionosphere. This study was conducted using Global Positioning System (GPS) total electron content (TEC) time series, measured in the year 2011, from five GPS receiver stations in Nigeria, which lies within the equatorial ionization anomaly region. The non-linear aspects of the TEC time series were obtained by detrending the data. The detrended TEC time series were subjected to various analyses to obtain the phase space reconstruction and to compute the chaotic quantifiers, which are Lyapunov exponents LE, correlation dimension, and Tsallis entropy, for the study of dynamical complexity. Considering all the days of the year, the daily/transient variations show no definite pattern for each month, but day-to-day values of Lyapunov exponents for the entire year show a wavelike semiannual variation pattern with lower values around March, April, September and October. This can be seen from the correlation dimension with values between 2.7 and 3.2, with lower values occurring mostly during storm periods, demonstrating a phase transition from higher dimension during the quiet periods to lower dimension during storms for most of the stations. The values of Tsallis entropy show a similar variation pattern to that of the Lyapunov exponent, with both quantifiers correlating within the range of 0.79 to 0.82. These results show that both quantifiers can be further used together as indices in the study of the variations of the dynamical complexity of the ionosphere. The presence of chaos and high variations in the dynamical complexity, even in quiet periods in the ionosphere, may be due to the internal dynamics and inherent irregularities of the ionosphere which exhibit non-linear properties. However, this inherent dynamics may be complicated by external factors like geomagnetic storms. This may be the main reason for the drop in the values of the Lyapunov exponent and Tsallis entropy during storms. The dynamical behaviour of the ionosphere throughout the year, as described by these quantifiers, was discussed in this work.

Short summary
This paper describes chaos and dynamical complexity to reveal the state of the underlying dynamics of the ionosphere on a daily basis. This is to show the daily/transient variations of chaoticity and dynamical complexity so as to reveal the degree of changes that occur in the ionospheric process and dynamics from one day to another. This paper will point the space science community in the direction of the use of chaoticity and dynamical complexity as indices to describe the process and dynamics.