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Correlation of Auroral Dynamics and GNSS Scintillation with an Autoencoder

High energy particles originating from solar activity travel along the the Earth’s magnetic field and interact with the atmosphere around the higher latitudes. These interactions often manifest as aurora in the form of visible light in the Earth’s ionosphere. These interactions also result in irregularities in the electron density, which cause disruptions in the amplitude and phase of the radio signals from the Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS), known as ‘scintillation’. In this paper we use a multi-scale residual autoencoder (Res-AE) to show the correlation between specific dynamic structures of the aurora and the magnitude of the GNSS phase scintillations (σϕ). Auroral images are encoded in a lower dimensional feature space using the Res-AE, which in turn are clustered with t-SNE and UMAP. Both methods produce similar clusters, and specific clusters demonstrate greater correlations with observed phase scintillations. Our results suggest that specific dynamic structures of auroras are highly correlated with GNSS phase scintillations.

Kara Lamb, Garima Malhotra, Athanasios Vlontzos, Edward Wagstaff, Atılım Günes Baydin, Anahita Bhiwandiwalla, Yarin Gal, Alfredo Kalaitzis, Anthony Reina, Asti Bhatt
Machine Learning and the Physical Sciences Workshop (ML4PS), NeurIPS 2019

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