Radar and satellite investigations of equatorial evening vertical drifts and spread F
Abstract. We analyzed pre-midnight equatorial F region observations made by the 30 MHz coherent backscatter radar of São Luis, Brazil between August 2010 and February 2012. These measurements were processed, and used to create monthly maps of the echo occurrence as a function of local time and height. The maps show the inter-annual variability associated with equatorial spread F (ESF) occurrence in the Brazilian longitude sector. We also constructed monthly curves of the evening vertical drifts, for the Brazilian sector, using measurements by the ion velocity meter (IVM) onboard the C/NOFS satellite. The IVM evening drifts show a good overall agreement with the Scherliess and Fejer (1999) empirical model. Measured and model drifts show the development of the pre-reversal enhancement (PRE) of the vertical plasma drifts during ESF season. Using joint radar and satellite measurements, we found that evening (18:00–18:30 LT) mean non-negative drifts provide a necessary but not sufficient condition for the occurrence of topside ESF echoes. Evening downward (negative) drifts preceded the absence of topside ESF irregularities.