TitleIonospheric symmetry caused by geomagnetic declination over North America
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2013
AuthorsZhang, S-R, Chen, Z, Coster, AJ, Erickson, PJ, Foster, JC
JournalGeophysical Research Letters
Pagination5350 - 5354
Date Published10/2014
Keywordsgeomagnetic field; midlatitude ionosphere; thermospheric winds; total electron content

We describe variations in total electron content (TEC) in the North American sector exhibiting pronounced longitudinal progression and symmetry with respect to zero magnetic declination. Patterns were uncovered by applying an empirical orthogonal function (EOF) decomposition procedure to a 12 year ground-based American longitude sector GPS TEC data set. The first EOF mode describes overall average TEC, while the strong influence of geomagnetic declination on the midlatitude ionosphere is found in the second EOF mode (or the second most significant component). We find a high degree of correlation between spatial variations in the second EOF mode and vertical drifts driven by thermospheric zonal winds, along with well-organized temporal variation. Results strongly suggest a causative mechanism involving varying declination with longitude along with varying zonal wind climatology with local time, season, and solar cycle. This study highlights the efficiency and key role played by the geomagnetic field effect in influencing mesoscale ionospheric structures over a broad midlatitude range.

Short TitleGeophys. Res. Lett.

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