TitleNighttime Enhancements in the Midlatitude Ionosphere and Their Relation to the Plasmasphere
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2018
AuthorsLi, Q, Hao, Y, Zhang, D, Xiao, Z
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics
Pagination7686 - 7696
Date Published08/2018

In situ electron density measurements by the CHAllenging Minisatellite Payload and the Defense Meteorological Satellites Program F17 satellites show that the midlatitude ionization at altitudes of ∼350 and 850 km is enhanced in the late evening. The enhancements increase to maximum around midnight and are clearly observed till early morning as the equatorial ionization decays to minimal level. They appear in the winter hemisphere during June and December solstices and in both hemispheres during equinox. The enhancements are well confined between ±30° and ±50° magnetic latitude, with the magnetic flux tubes of L = 1.3 − 2.4 connecting to the plasmasphere. Furthermore, coincident longitudinal variations exist in both the ionospheric enhancements and the plasmaspheric total electron content, especially during the solstice months. The coincidence may suggest essential plasma transport between the ionosphere and the plasmasphere. These facts support the idea that the plasmasphere provides extra plasma to the midlatitude ionosphere through downward plasma influx along the magnetic field lines to form the nighttime ionization enhancements when the sunlight is absent.

Short TitleJ. Geophys. Res. Space Physics

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