Physical mechanisms of the ionospheric storms at equatorial and higher latitudes during the recovery phase of geomagnetic storms


The paper studies the physical mechanisms of the ionospheric storms at equatorial and higher latitudes, which are generally opposite both during the main phase (MP) and recovery phase (RP) of geomagnetic storms. The mechanisms are based on the natural tendency of physical systems to occupy minimum energy state which is most stable. The paper first illustrates the recent developments in the understanding of the mechanisms during daytime MPs when generally negative ionospheric storms (in Nmax and TEC) develop at equatorial latitudes and positive storms occur at higher latitudes, including why the storms are severe only in some cases. The paper then investigates the relative importance of the physical mechanisms of the positive ionospheric storms observed at equatorial latitudes (within \textpm15\textdegree) during daytime RPs when negative storms occur at higher latitudes using CHAMP Ne and GPS-TEC data and Sheffield University Plasmasphere Ionosphere Model. The results indicate that the mechanical effect of the storm-time equatorward neutral winds that causes plasma convergence at equatorial F region could be a major source for the positive storms, with the downwelling effect of the winds and zero or westward electric field, if present, acting as minor sources.

Year of Publication
Journal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics
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