11 Nov 2022
11 Nov 2022
Status: this preprint is open for discussion.

The 2021 volcanic eruption in La Palma Island and its impact on ionospheric scintillation as measured from GNSS reference stations, GNSS-R, and GNSS-RO

Carlos Molina1, Badr-Eddine Boudriki Semlali1, Hyuk Park1,2, and Adriano Camps1,2,3 Carlos Molina et al.
  • 1CommSensLab – UPC, Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya – BarcelonaTech
  • 2IEEC-Institut d’Estudis Espacials de Catalunya, 08034 Barcelona, Spain
  • 3Visiting professor at United Arab Emirates University, Al Ain, Abu Dabhi, U.A.E.

Abstract. Ionospheric disturbances induced by seismic activity have been studied in the last years by many authors, showing an impact both before and after the occurrence of earthquakes. In this study, the ionospheric scintillation produced by the 2021 La Palma volcano eruption is analyzed. The "Cumbre Vieja" volcano was active from September 19th to December 13th, 2021, and many magnitude 3–4 earthquakes were recorded, with some of them reaching magnitude 5. In this study the three methods: GNSS reference monitoring, GNSS Reflectometry (GNSS-R) from NASA CYGNSS, and GNSS Radio Occultation (GNSS-RO) from COSMIC and Spire constellations, are used, allowing us to compare and evaluate their performance in the same conditions. To compare the seismic activity with ionospheric scintillation, earthquakes’ generated energy, and percentile 95 % of the intensity scintillation parameter (S4), measurements have been computed every 6 h intervals for the whole duration of the volcanic eruption. GNSS-RO has shown the best correlation between earthquakes’ energy and S4, with values up to 0.09 when the perturbations occur around 18 h after the seismic activity. GNSS reference monitoring stations data also shows some correlation 18 h after and 7–8 days after. As expected, GNSS-R is the one that shows the smallest correlation, as the ionospheric signatures get masked by the signature of the surface where the reflection is taking place. Additionally, as expected as well, the three methods show a smaller correlation during the week before earthquakes.

Carlos Molina et al.

Status: open (until 01 Jan 2023)

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Carlos Molina et al.

Carlos Molina et al.


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Short summary
This study employs the signals utilized by global navigation systems such as GPS or Galileo to measure the perturbations induced in the ionosphere by the earthquakes related to the volcanic eruption in La Palma (Spain) from September to December 2021. It uses data from ground stations and satellites measuring the signals reflected on the ocean or during radio-occultations. The results shows that some small correlation can be detected during around a week before and after earthquakes.