Pre-storm NmF2 enhancements at middle latitudes: delusion or reality?
Abstract. A critical analysis of recent publications devoted to the NmF2 pre-storm enhancements is performed. There are no convincing arguments that the observed cases of NmF2 enhancements at middle and sub-auroral latitudes bear a relation to the following magnetic storms. In all cases considered the NmF2 pre-storm enhancements were due to previous geomagnetic storms, moderate auroral activity or they presented the class of positive quiet time events (Q-disturbances). Therefore, it is possible to conclude that there is no such an effect as the pre-storm NmF2 enhancement as a phenomenon inalienably related to the following magnetic storm. The observed nighttime NmF2 enhancements at sub-auroral latitudes may result from plasma transfer from the plasma ring area by meridional thermospheric wind. Enhanced plasmaspheric fluxes into the nighttime F2-region resulted from westward substorm-associated electric fields is another possible source of nighttime NmF2 enhancements. Daytime positive Q-disturbances occurring under very low geomagnetic activity level may be related to the dayside cusp activity.