Articles | Volume 22, issue 6
14 Jun 2004
 | 14 Jun 2004

Dispersive changes in magnetic background noise polarization at 0.1 to 6Hz during sunset and sunrise at L=1.3

T. Bösinger and S. L. Shalimov

Abstract. Polarization properties of the magnetic background noise (MBN) and the spectral resonance structure (SRS) of the ionospheric Alfvén resonator (IAR) below the first Schumann resonance but above 0.1 Hz are measured by a sensitive pulsation magnetometer at the island of Crete (L=1.3) and analyzed using the existing SRS theory by Belyaev et al. (1989b). The focus of the paper is on the systematic changes in the MBN and SRS properties associated with the transition from a sunlit to a dark ionosphere (sunset) and vice versa (sunrise). We are able to pinpoint in observations an E-region and F-region terminator effect and to simulate it by means of a simple ionosphere model, implying the formalism given by Belyaev et al. (1989b). The E-region terminator effect is associated with an apparent control for the SRS presence or absence with no clear frequency dispersion in polarization properties, whereas the F-region terminator effect exhibits strong frequency dispersion, especially in the low frequency range. This yields a change in the ellipticity of MBN, starting as early as 2 to 3h ahead of the "zero-line" of the terminator. In a 24h presentation of the ellipticity versus frequency and time, the sunrise/sunset effect produces a sharp, dispersive boundary between night and day (day and night). Only inside this boundary, during the night hours, is SRS observed, at times accompanied by a large quasi-periodic long period modulation in the azimuthal angle of the major axis of the polarization ellipse. Attention is also paid to peculiarities in the low frequency range (~0.1Hz), where especially large changes in the polarization properties occur in association with the passage of the terminator. The F-region effect is very distinct and well reproduced by our simple model. Changes in the azimuth associated with the E-region terminator effect are of the order of 20°.