On the diurnal variability in F2-region plasma density above the EISCAT Svalbard radar
Abstract. Two long runs of EISCAT Svalbard Radar (ESR), in February 2001 and October 2002, have been analysed with respect to variability in the F2 region peak density and altitude. The diurnal variation in the F2 peak density exhibits one maximum around 12:00 MLT and another around 23:00 MLT, consistent with solar wind controlled transport of EUV ionized plasma across the polar cap from day to night. High density plasma patch material is drawn in through the cusp inflow region independent of IMF BY. There is no apparent IMF BY asymmetry on the intake of high density plasma, but the trajectory of its motion is strongly BY dependent. Comparison with the international reference ionosphere model (IRI2001) clearly demonstrates that the model does not take account of the cross-polar transport of F2-region plasma, and hence has limited applicability in polar cap regions.