Analysis of daytime ionospheric equatorial vertical drifts during the extreme solar minimum of 2008/2009

Friday, 19 December 2014
Jessica Mae Smith1, Fabiano S Rodrigues1, Russell Stoneback1 and Marco A Milla2, (1)University of Texas at Dallas, Dallas, TX, United States, (2)Instituto GeofĂ­sico del PerĂș, Jicamarca Radio Observatory, Lima, Peru
The unique solar minimum period of 2008/2009 has led to interesting observations of the equatorial ionosphere and low-latitude ionosphere made by the C/NOFS satellite. It has been found, for instance, downward equatorial vertical drifts during afternoon hours and upward drifts around local midnight, which were associated with enhanced semi-diurnal tides (Stoneback et al., 2011). To better understand the behavior of equatorial drifts, we used ground-based measurements of daytime 150-km echo drifts made by the Jicamarca Unattended Long-term studies of the Ionosphere and Atmosphere (JULIA) radar. Our analysis did not show signatures of the enhanced semi-diurnal pattern in the 150-km drifts, as seen by C/NOFS during the 2008/2009 solar minimum. We attribute the differences in the C/NOFS drifts and 150-km echo drifts to the height variability of the drifts, the abnormal F-region contraction due to the extreme solar minimum conditions, and the coupling with low-latitude semi-diurnal tides. We investigated further the height variation of the vertical drifts by comparing the Scherliess and Fejer [1999] F-region drift model with the 150-km echo drifts. We found that the model overestimates the 150-km vertical drifts in the morning, and underestimates the 150-km drifts in the afternoon. The same height variation is observed in all seasons and solar flux conditions (2001 through 2011).