Morphologies of ionospheric-equivalent slab-thickness and scale height over equatorial latitude in Africa

Accurate representation of ionospheric equivalent slab thickness (τ) and scale height (Hm) plays a crucial role in characterizing the complex dynamics of topside and bottomside ionospheric constituents. In the present work, we examined the corresponding morphologies of ionospheric profile parameters with collocated global positioning system (GPS) and Digisonde Portable Sounder (DPS) setups at an equatorial location in west Africa Ilorin (8.50°N, 4.68°E), during a low solar activity year 2010. The extracted τ from GPS and DPS in selected quiet periods confirm it to be a first-order measure of Hm over Africa. The seasonal analysis of τ shows substantial enhancement in the magnitude during the post-sunset and solstice seasons, of which December solstice manifests relatively higher values than June solstice. This result could be associated with the elevation of the meridional wind and drift in the parameters, which are more substantial during the post-noon and solstices. Therefore, at solstices, the post-night increase could indicate solar cycle dynamics during HSA (high solar activity) and LSA (low solar activity). However, the extracted Hm from its relationship with τ did not show visible effects of dynamics in E × B plasma drift and the meridional wind. In our study, a decline in morphologies of Hm and τ from December solstice to June solstice through the equinox is not consistent with the existing observations at mid-latitude. The results would complement the relationships between bottomside and topside profile peak parameters and dynamics of ionospheric constituents for a realistic representation and modeling of the ionosphere over African equatorial and low latitude regions. Thus, it also contributes to the global effort of improving ionospheric prediction and forecasting models.
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Advances in Space Research
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