Relationships between electron density, height and sub-peak ionospheric thickness in the night equatorial ionosphere
- 1Ionospheric Systems Research, Noosaville, Australia
- 2Defence Science & Technology Organisation, P.O. Box 1500, Edinburgh, Australia
- 3National Institute for Aeronautics and Space (LAPAN), Bandung, Indonesia
Abstract. The development and decay of the southern equatorial anomaly night-time peak in electron density as seen at a number of ionosonde reflection points extending from New Guinea and Indonesia into northern Australia was examined in terms of the characteristic rise and fall in height associated with the sunset ionisation-drift vortex at the magnetic equator. The observations relate to measurements made in November 1997. Following sunset, the ionospheric profile was observed to narrow as the maximum electron density increased during a fall in height that took the peak of the layer at Vanimo and Sumedang down to some 240 km. The fall was followed by a strong rise in which the electron density sub-peak profile expanded from a slab width (as given by POLAN) of 20 km to over 100km with no corresponding change in peak electron density. The post-sunset equatorial fall in height and associated changes in profile density and thickness continued to be seen with diminishing amplitude and increasing local time delay in moving from the anomaly peak at Vanimo to the southernmost site of observation at Townsville. Secondary events on a lesser scale sometimes occurred later in the night and may provide evidence of the multiple vortices suggested by Kudeki and Bhattacharyya (1999). Doppler measurements of vertical velocity as seen at Sumedang in Java are compared with the observed changes in electron density profile in the post-sunset period. The normal post-sunset variation in ionospheric parameters was disrupted on the night of 7 November, the night before a negative ionospheric storm was observed.