Nightside midlatitude ionospheric arcs: TIMED/GUVI observations


[1]\ Midlatitude arcs (MLA) are the phenomenon of the nightside enhancements of ionospheric electron density at 20\textdegree-45\textdegree magnetic latitudes in both hemispheres. We investigate the occurrence of MLA and its dependence on season using the Thermosphere, Ionosphere, Mesosphere Energetics and Dynamics/Global Ultraviolet Imager (TIMED/GUVI) O I 135.6 nm intensity data between March 2008 and March 2012. The 135.6 nm emission is mainly caused by radiant recombination between O+ ions and electrons in the nightside ionosphere. The GUVI data show that the MLA occurred in all seasons under geomagnetically quiet condition (mean Kp ~ 1.0) and during periods of low solar activity. Hemispheric symmetric MLA were observed during equinox. During solstice, the MLA were seen only in the winter hemisphere. The MLA were more frequently observed at local times between ~21:00 and 02:00 on nightside. They were rarely observed at local times between 03:00 and sun rise. The MLA were observed with an occurrence frequency of ~75\% of the time. Coincident GPS total electron current data confirm that the MLA were due to enhanced ionospheric electron density. GUVI 135.6 nm limb data further show that the altitude of the MLA is higher than that of the equatorial arcs created by the equatorial ionization anomaly or fountain effect. The appearance of the MLA at higher altitude than the equatorial arcs supports the idea that the creation of the MLA is associated with the uplift of the ionosphere by the equatorward neutral wind.

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Journal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics
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