A modified index for the description of the ionospheric short- and long-term activity
Abstract. A modified ionospheric activity index AI has been developed on the basis of ionospheric foF2 observations. Such index can be helpful for an interested user to get information about the current state of the ionosphere. Using ionosonde data of the station Juliusruh (54.6° N; 13.4° E) this index has been tested for the time interval from January 1996 until December 2008. This index has no diurnal and seasonal variations, only a small positive dependence on the solar activity could be found. The variability of this index has, however, a marked seasonal variability with maxima during the equinoxes, a clear minimum in summer, and enhanced values in winter. The observed variability of AI is strongly correlated with the geomagnetic activity, most markedly during the equinoxes, whereas the influence of the solar activity is markedly smaller and mostly insignificant. Strong geomagnetic disturbances cause in middle latitudes in general negative disturbances in AI, mostly pronounced during equinoxes and summer and only partly during winter, thus in agreement with the current physical knowledge about ionospheric storms.