Articles | Volume 16, issue 10
Special issue:
31 Oct 1998
31 Oct 1998

A statistical study of diurnal, seasonal and solar cycle variations of F-region and topside auroral upflows observed by EISCAT between 1984 and 1996

C. Foster, M. Lester, and J. A. Davies

Abstract. A statistical analysis of F-region and topside auroral ion upflow events is presented. The study is based on observations from EISCAT Common Programmes (CP) 1 and 2 made between 1984 and 1996, and Common Programme 7 observations taken between 1990 and 1995. The occurrence frequency of ion upflow events (IUEs) is examined over the altitude range 200 to 500 km, using field-aligned observations from CP-1 and CP-2. The study is extended in altitude with vertical measurements from CP-7. Ion upflow events were identified by consideration of both velocity and flux, with threshold values of 100 m s–1 and 1013 m–2 s–1, respectively. The frequency of occurrence of IUEs is seen to increase with increasing altitude. Further analysis of the field-aligned observations reveals that the number and nature of ion upflow events vary diurnally and with season and solar activity. In particular, the diurnal distribution of upflows is strongly dependent on solar cycle. Furthermore, events identified by the velocity selection criterion dominate at solar minimum, whilst events identified by the upward field-aligned flux criterion dominated at solar maximum. The study also provides a quantitative estimate of the proportion of upflows that are associated with enhanced plasma temperature. Between 50 and 60% of upflows are simultaneous with enhanced ion temperature, and approximately 80% of events are associated with either increased F-region ion or electron temperatures.

Key words. Ionosphere (auroral ionosphere; particle acceleration)

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