Seasonal and solar cycle effects on TEC at 95\textdegreeE in the ascending half (2009\textendash2014) of the subdued solar cycle 24: Consistent underestimation by IRI 2012


TEC measured at Dibrugarh (27.5\textdegreeN, 94.9\textdegreeE, 17.5\textdegreeN Geomag.) from 2009 to 2014 is used to study its temporal characteristics during the ascending half of solar cycle 24. The measurements provide an opportunity to assess the diurnal, seasonal and longterm predictability of the IRI 2012 (with IRI Nequick, IRI01-corr, IRI 2001topside options) during this solar cycle which is distinctively low in magnitude compared to the previous cycles. The low latitude station Dibrugarh is normally located at the poleward edge of the northern EIA. A semi-annual variation in GPS TEC is observed with the peaks occurring in the equinoxes. The peak in spring (March, April) is higher than that in autumn (September, October) irrespective of the year of observation. The spring autumn asymmetry is also observed in IRI TEC. In contrast, the winter (November, December, January, February) anomaly is evident only in high activity years. TEC bears a distinct nonlinear relationship with 10.7\ cm solar flux (F10.7). TEC increases linearly with F10.7 up to about 125\ sfu beyond which it tends to saturate. The correlation between TEC and solar flux is found to be a function of local time and peaks at 10:00\ LT. TEC varies nonlinearly with solar EUV flux similar to its variation with F10.7. The nonlinearity is well captured by the IRI. The saturation of TEC at high solar activity is attributed to the inability of the ionosphere to accommodate more ionization after it reaches the level of saturation ion pressure. Annual mean TEC increased from the minimum in 2009 almost linearly till 2012, remains at the same level in 2013 and then increased again in 2014. IRI TEC shows a linear increase from 2009 to 2014. IRI01-corr and IRI-NeQuick TEC are nearly equal at all local times, season and year of observation while IRI-2001 simulated TEC are always higher than that simulated by the other two versions. The IRI 2012 underestimates the TEC at about all local times except for a few hours in the midday in all season or year of observation. The discrepancy between model and measured TEC is high in spring and in the evening hours. The consistent underestimation of the TEC at this longitude by the IRI may be attributed to the inadequate ingestion of F region data from this longitude sector into the model and exclusion of the plasmaspheric content.

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Advances in Space Research
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