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Seasonal trends of nighttime plasma density enhancements in the topside ionosphere

AuthorSlominska, Ewa; Blecki, Jan; Lebreton, Jean-Pierre; Parrot, Michel; Slominski, Jan;
KeywordsElectron density; Ionosphere; Langmuir probe; Weddell Sea Anomaly

In situ registrations of electron density from the Langmuir probe on board Detection of Electro-Magnetic Emissions Transmitted from Earthquake Regions satellite are used to study spatial and temporal evolution of nighttime plasma density enhancements (NPDEs). The study introduces the normalized density difference index INDD in order to provide global estimates of the phenomenon. In the validation test, in situ data are compared with synthetic data set generated with the International Reference Ionosphere model. We find signatures of two most common examples of NPDEs, the Weddell Sea Anomaly (WSA) and midlatitude nighttime summer anomaly (MSNA) with proposed index, in the topside ionosphere. The study provides evidence that the occurrence of the WSA and MSNA is not limited to the local summer conditions. Analyzed annual trend of INDD and in particular spatial pattern obtained during equinoxes suggest that mechanisms governing the behavior of the equatorial ionosphere cannot be neglected in the explanation of the development of NPDEs.

Year of Publication2014
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics
Number of Pages6902-6912
Date Published08/2014