REPORT ON IONOSPHERE (Syllabus: GS Paper 3 – Sci and Tech)

News-CRUX-10     27th December 2023        

Context: The cold dark winters and the bright sunny summer of Antarctica holds a secret in the ionosphere that scientists have traced recently.

Scientist Ionospheric Observations in Antarctica

  • Polar Night Diurnal Pattern: Despite the absence of sunlight during winter's polar nights at Bharati station, a diurnal pattern emerged, revealing peak ionospheric density around local noon. 
  • Factors Behind Peak Ionization: Scientists attributed the observed peak ionization during polar nights to particle precipitation and the transport of convectional plasma from high latitudes. This finding underscores the complexity of ionospheric dynamics in extreme conditions.
  • Contrasting Polar Day and Night Densities: In the summer months with continuous sunlight (polar days), the ionospheric density at Bharati was approximately twice that observed during polar nights. 
  • This disparity highlights the significant impact of sunlight on ionospheric conditions in the Bharati region.


  • About: The ionosphere constitutes a segment of Earth's upper atmosphere, spanning altitudes from 100 to 1000 kilometers, and is partially ionized.
  • Nature at Polar Regions: In polar regions, particularly at the poles, the ionosphere exhibits high dynamism.

oIt serves as a significant energy sink for space weather events and plays a crucial role in magnetosphere-ionosphere systems, notably due to the vertical orientation of magnetic field lines.

  • Reflecting Radio Signals: This area serves as an electrically conducting region with the ability to reflect radio signals back to Earth, contributing to communication and signal propagation.
  • Formation of Ions: The process leads to the creation of electrically charged atoms and molecules known as ions, bestowing the ionosphere with its name and conferring unique properties upon this region.