Transition of Interhemispheric Asymmetry of Equatorial Ionization Anomaly During Solstices


The magnitudes of the two crests of equatorial ionization anomaly (EIA) vary with local time. During the solstices, EIA crest in the winter hemisphere is larger than that in the summer hemisphere before noon/early afternoon. Whereafter, the crest in the summer hemisphere becomes intensified, and the stronger EIA crest transits to the summer hemisphere. Using Constellation Observing System for Meteorology, Ionosphere, and Climate ionospheric radio occultation data, we examine the longitudinal and altitudinal variations of this interhemispheric transition in four longitudinal sectors and at seven heights under low/high solar activity conditions. The results show that during the June solstice the transition of the stronger EIA peak from the winter to the summer hemisphere is earlier in the sectors where the geomagnetic equator is further away from the subsolar point and the geomagnetic field declination is larger, while during the December solstice the longitudinal variations generally show the opposite compared with that in the June solstice. The distance between the geomagnetic equator and subsolar point and the geomagnetic field configuration control the upward/downward plasma movements in the summer/winter hemisphere, leading to the different transition times in different longitudinal sectors. For both solstices, transition times emerge earlier as height increases, which is mainly caused by the larger effective scale height in the summer hemisphere than in the winter hemisphere, resulting in a smaller electron density difference at higher altitudes with a fast transition. Solar activity alters the transition time below 320\ km, whereas it has no evident effect at higher altitudes.

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Journal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics
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