Articles | Volume 25, issue 12
02 Jan 2007
 | 02 Jan 2007

Longitudinal dependence of middle and low latitude zonal plasma drifts measured by DE-2

J. W. Jensen and B. G. Fejer

Abstract. We used ion drift observations from the DE-2 satellite to study for the first time the longitudinal variations of middle and low latitude F region zonal plasma drifts during quiet and disturbed conditions. The quiet-time middle latitude drifts are predominantly westward; the low latitude drifts are westward during the day and eastward at night. The daytime quiet-time drifts do not change much with longitude; the nighttime drifts have strong season dependent longitudinal variations. In the dusk-premidnight period, the equinoctial middle latitude westward drifts are smallest in the European sector and the low latitude eastward drifts are largest in the American-Pacific sector. The longitudinal variations of the late night-early morning drifts during June and December solstice are anti-correlated. During geomagnetically active times, there are large westward perturbation drifts in the late afternoon-early night sector at upper middle latitudes, and in the midnight sector at low latitudes. The largest westward disturbed drifts during equinox occur in European sector, and the smallest in the Pacific region. These results suggest that during equinox SAPS events occur most often at European longitudes. The low latitude perturbation drifts do not show significant longitudinal