Articles | Volume 23, issue 10
30 Nov 2005
 | 30 Nov 2005

On the relations between proton influx and D-region electron densities during the polar-cap absorption event of 28-29 October 2003

J. K. Hargreaves and M. J. Birch

Abstract. Observations by incoherent-scatter radar have been applied to explore relationships between the fluxes of incident protons and the resulting D-region electron densities during a polar-cap radio-absorption event. Using proton flux data from a GOES geosynchronous satellite, the energy band having the greatest influence at a selected height is estimated by a process of trial and error, and empirical relationships are defined. The height profiles of the effective recombination coefficient are determined for day and night, and the transition over the evening twilight is investigated for the height range 60-70 km.

The results show that the day-night change is confined to heights below 80 km, night-time values at the lower levels being consistent with a balance between negative ions and electrons controlled by 3-body attachment and collisional detachment. The daytime results confirm that, contrary to the prediction of some chemical models, a square-law continuity equation may be strictly applied. It is confirmed that, as previously reported, the timing of the sunset change varies with altitude.