Global UltraViolet Imager

Inhibition of F3 Layer at Low Latitude Station Sanya During Recovery Phase of Geomagnetic Storms

A special F2 layer stratification structure named F3 layer occurs frequently in equatorial and low latitude ionosphere during summer daytime. In this study, a new phenomenon of decreasing occurrence of the F3 layer, and narrowing differences of virtual heights between the F3 and F2 layers in the recovery phase of geomagnetic storms is reported. We named this phenomenon as the inhibition of F3 layer event (IFLE). Using the ionosonde observations during summer of 2012–2015 at Sanya (18.3°N, 109.6°E, dip latitude 12.6°N), we found that IFLE occurred during 14 geomagnetic storms (−127 nT ≤ Dstmin ≤ −22 nT), which was accompanied by the thinning and lowering bottom ionosphere, and decreasing the crest-to-trough ratio of total electron content (TEC). Together with the ion drift data measured by Defense Meteorological Satellite Program F18, we suggest that the IFLE is mainly caused by the westward disturbance dynamo electric field (DDEF; downward drift velocity), taking disadvantage of the formation of the F3 layer. The observed decrease in the crest-to-trough ratio of TEC also indicates that the westward DDEF should prompt IFLE by providing less plasma from the equatorial region to the low latitude. Hence, IFLE then can be a good indicator to show how the magnetosphere-ionospheric coupling process affects the low and equatorial ionosphere. Notably, the results also indicate that even a very weak geomagnetic storm can generate significant changes in ionospheric state at low latitude.
Year of Publication
Journal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics
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