The African equatorial ionization anomaly response to the St. Patrick’s Day storms of March 2013 and 2015

The ionosphere around the Equatorial Ionization Anomaly (EIA) region exhibits complex dynamics and responds markedly to the solar-magnetospheric energy and momentum. In this paper, the hourly total electron content (TEC) variations in response to the EIA structure in Africa to the 2013 and 2015 St. Patrick’s Day storms is investigated using data obtained from a chain of GPS receivers located in the Africa region. The TEC variations are characterized based on the convective magnetospheric dynamo fields, neutral wind circulation, and zonal electric fields. Generally, the result indicates that the TEC variations are consistent with the different directions of the interplanetary fields during the different phases of the storms. We observed reverse EIA structures in the main phase of the March 2015 storm, likely to be related to the intense PPEF and strong equatorward wind, which imposed a westward zonal electric field at the equator. A similar equatorial peak observed during the recovery phase is associated with DDEF, poleward wind and plasma convergence. Furthermore, the TEC variations also indicate hemispheric asymmetries during the storms. During the main phase of the storm, the TEC variation is more enhanced in the Northern Hemisphere in March 2013 and reverses during March 2015. We observed an equatorial peak during the SSC period in March 2013, while EIA structures are generally weak in March 2015 event. This posit that ionospheric pre-storm behaviour in the EIA region can be better understood when the IMF-Bz and E-field are not significant. The observed distinctive response avowed the peculiarity of the electrodynamics intricacy in the Africa sector.
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Astrophysics and Space Science
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