Articles | Volume 35, issue 3
Regular paper
22 Jun 2017
Regular paper |  | 22 Jun 2017

Features of 3–7-day planetary-wave-type oscillations in F-layer vertical drift and equatorial spread F observed over two low-latitude stations in China

Zhengping Zhu, Weihua Luo, Jiaping Lan, and Shanshan Chang

Abstract. Recent studies on the equatorial atmosphere–ionosphere coupling system have shown that planetary-wave-type oscillations, as an important seeding mechanism for equatorial spread F (ESF), play an important role in ESF irregularity development and its day-to-day variability in the equatorial latitudes. In this study, ionosonde virtual height and ESF measurements over Sanya (18.4° N, 109.6° E; 12.8° N dip latitude) and meteor radar neutral-wind measurements over Fuke (19.5° N, 109.1° E; 14° N dip latitude) during 2013 are used to investigate the features of planetary-wave-type oscillations in both the lower atmosphere and the ionosphere and their possible influences on ESF occurrence under the weak solar maximum year. The ∼ 3-day and ∼ 7-day planetary-wave-type oscillations have been observed in the neutral zonal winds and the time rate of change in F-layer virtual heights. According to the propagation characteristics, the 3-day and 7-day planetary-wave-type oscillations are basically recognized as ultrafast and fast Kelvin waves, respectively. With increasing heights, the 3-day wave oscillations are gradually amplified, while the 7-day wave oscillations are generally constant. By performing a cross-wavelet transform on the onsets of ESF and the vertical drifts of the F layer, we found that there are simultaneously occurring 7-day and 3-day common wave oscillations between them. The 7-day waves are mainly in the inversion phase, while the 3-day waves are mostly in an in-phase state, indicating that the 7-day waves may play a main role in ESF initiation. Approximate delays of 6 days for the 7-day waves and 5 days for the 3-day waves in their propagation upward from the lower atmosphere to the ionosphere are evaluated with wavelet power spectrum analysis. The estimated upward velocities from these time delays provide consistent evidence that the 7-day and 3-day waves propagate vertically upward with typical Kelvin wave characteristics. The results highlight the role of planetary-wave-type oscillations in the initiation and development of ESF in the Chinese low-latitude region.

Short summary
Features of planetary waves in Chinese low-latitude regions are investigated. Planetary waves are observed in both MLT winds and ionospheric vertical drifts. ESF occurrence is with the uplift of the F layer caused by PRE, and a delay of about 6 days is observed for planetary waves propagating from the lower atmosphere to the ionosphere. This investigation contributes to the understanding of atmosphere–ionosphere coupling processes and the effects of planetary waves on ESF.