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Annales Geophysicae An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Volume 15, issue 10
Ann. Geophys., 15, 1316–1323, 1997
https://doi.org/10.1007/s00585-997-1316-3
© European Geosciences Union 1997
Ann. Geophys., 15, 1316–1323, 1997
https://doi.org/10.1007/s00585-997-1316-3
© European Geosciences Union 1997

  31 Oct 1997

31 Oct 1997

Response of equatorial ionosphere to episodes of asymmetric ring current activity

J. H. Sastri*, M. A. Abdu, and J. H. A. Sobral J. H. Sastri et al.
  • Instituto Nacional de Pesquisas Espaciais (INPE), CP 515, 12201-970 São José dos Campos-SP, Brazil
  • *On sabbatical leave from Indian Institute of Astrophysics, Bangalore, India

Abstract. We present the characteristics of the response of equatorial ionospheric zonal electric field and F-region plasma density to the asymmetric ring current intensifications that occurred in succession on 16 December 1991, corresponding to the STEP/EITS-2 campaign period. The study is based on high-time- resolution (1-min) data of asymmetic ring current indices, ASY(H/D) and F-region vertical plasma drift, Vz measurements at Kodaikanal (10.25°N; 77.5°E; dip 4°), India and quarter-hourly ionosonde data of Fortaleza (4°S; 322°E; dip –9°), Brazil. It is shown that short-lived disturbances in F-layer vertical plasma drift, Vz and height (h'F/hpF2) indicative of westward and eastward electric fields prevail simultaneously in the dusk (18–21 LT) and predawn (02–05 LT) sectors, respectively, in association with the decay phase of asymmetic ring current events. Electric fields of opposite polarity do also seem to manifest at these local times, particularly in the early-morning sector in conjunction with the intensification of the asymmetric ring current. At a given location, electric field disturbances associated with individual asymmetric ring current events are thus bipolar in nature, with fields of opposite polarity during the growth and decay phases. The nature and polarity structure of the observed electric field disturbances are in agreement with the theoretical/model predictions of prompt penetration of high-latitude electric fields to the equatorial region.

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