Coherent and incoherent scatter radar study of the climatology and day-to-day variability of mean F region vertical drifts and equatorial spread F

J. M. Smith, F. S. Rodrigues, B. G. Fejer, M. A. Milla

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

39 Scopus citations

Abstract

We conducted a comprehensive analysis of the vertical drifts and equatorial spread F (ESF) measurements made by the Jicamarca incoherent scatter radar (ISR) between 1994 and 2013. The ISR measurements allowed us to construct not only updated climatological curves of quiet-time vertical plasma drifts but also time-versus-height maps of ESF occurrence over the past two solar cycles. These curves and maps allowed us to better relate the observed ESF occurrence patterns to features in the vertical drift curves than previously possible. We identified an excessively high occurrence of post-midnight F region irregularities during December solstice and low solar flux conditions. More importantly, we also found a high occurrence of ESF events during sudden stratospheric warming (SSW) events. We also proposed and evaluated metrics of evening enhancement of the vertical drifts and ESF occurrence, which allowed us to quantify the relationship between evening drifts and ESF development. Based on a day-to-day analysis of these metrics, we offer estimates of the minimum pre-reversal enhancement (PRE) peak (and mean PRE) values observed prior to ESF development for different solar flux and seasonal conditions. We also found that ESF irregularities can reach the altitudes at least as high as 800 km at the magnetic equator even during low solar flux conditions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1466-1482
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics
Volume121
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Feb 2016
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • drifts
  • equatorial
  • ionosphere
  • irregularities

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