The statistical properties of spread F observed at Hainan station during the declining period of the 23rd solar cycle
Abstract. The temporal variations of the low latitude nighttime spread F (SF) observed by DPS-4 digisonde at low latitude Hainan station (geog. 19.5° N, 109.1° E, dip lat. 9.5° N) during the declining solar cycle 23 from March 2002 to February 2008 are studied. The spread F measured by the digisonde were classified into four types, i.e., frequency SF (FSF), range SF (RSF), mixed SF (MSF), and strong range SF (SSF). The statistical results show that MSF and SSF are the outstanding irregularities in Hainan, MSF mainly occurs during summer and low solar activity years, whereas SSF mainly occurs during equinoxes and high solar activity years. The SSF has a diurnal peak before midnight and usually appears during 20:00–02:00 LT, whereas MSF peaks nearly or after midnight and occurs during 22:00–06:00 LT. The time of maximum occurrence of SSF is later in summer than in equinoxes and this time delay can be caused by the later reversal time of the E×B drift in summer. The SunSpot Number (SSN) dependence of each type SF is different during different season. The FSF is independent of SSN during each season; RSF with SSN is positive relation during equinoxes and summer and is no relationship during the winter; MSF is significant dependence on SSN during the summer and winter, and does not relate to SSN during the equinoxes; SSF is clearly increasing with SSN during equinoxes and summer, while it is independent of SSN during the winter. The occurrence numbers of each type SF and total SF have the same trend, i.e., increasing as Kp increases from 0 to 1, and then decreasing as increasing Kp. The correlation with Kp is negative for RSF, MSF, SSF and total SF, but is vague for the FSF.