Articles | Volume 32, issue 4
Ann. Geophys., 32, 421–429, 2014

Special issue: C/NOFS results and equatorial ionospheric dynamics

Ann. Geophys., 32, 421–429, 2014

Regular paper 15 Apr 2014

Regular paper | 15 Apr 2014

Identifying equatorial ionospheric irregularities using in situ ion drifts

R. A. Stoneback and R. A. Heelis R. A. Stoneback and R. A. Heelis
  • W. B. Hanson Center for Space Sciences, Physics Department, University of Texas at Dallas, Richardson, Texas, USA

Abstract. Previous climatological investigations of ionospheric irregularity occurrence in the equatorial ionosphere have utilized in situ measurements of plasma density to identify the presence of an irregularity. Here we use the Morlet wavelet and C/NOFS to isolate perturbations in meridional ion drifts and generate irregularity occurrence maps as a function of local time, longitude, season, and solar activity. For the low solar activity levels in 2008, the distributions identified by velocity perturbations follow normalized density perturbation (ΔN/N) maps with large occurrences after midnight into dawn over all longitudes. The velocity and normalized density occurrence maps contract in both local time and longitude with increasing solar activity. By 2011 irregularities are confined to particular longitudes expected by alignment and a few hours of local time after sunset. The variation in the occurrence of the late night irregularities with solar activity is consistent with the presence of gravity wave seeding.