Diurnal and Seasonal Characteristics of the Longitudinal Variations of Electron Densities in the Topside Ionosphere at Middle Latitudes

The ionosphere experiences strong diurnal and seasonal changes. The longitudinal variations of electron density (Ne) in the ionosphere at the middle latitudes also show strong diurnal and seasonal changes. In this paper, we use in situ Ne measurements from the DEMETER satellite and electron density profiles retrieved from the COSMIC data to study the local time (LT) and seasonal dependence of the longitudinal variations of topside Ne at middle latitudes during 2007–2009. With regard to the diurnal trend, the reversal phase of longitudinal peaks/valleys of topside Ne with a 12 hr interval occurred in less than half of the cases, and there were less cases with eastward phase shift of the longitudinal variations of topside Ne with LT in winter than those in other seasons. The seasonal trends of transition longitudes of topside Ne might be westward from winter to summer and eastward from summer to winter in the daytime and in the opposite direction at night in both hemispheres in some cases and sometimes they were located within 20° of longitude at 52°N in other cases. The longitudinal peaks/valleys of hmF2 and/or NmF2 and the longitudinal peaks/valleys of topside Ne were within 30° of longitude in most cases at all local times, in all seasons, and in both hemispheres. Exceptions to this were independent of season or LT.
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Journal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics
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