A new technique has been developed to determine the high‐latitude electric potential from observed field‐aligned currents (FACs) and modeled ionospheric conductances. FACs are observed by the Active Magnetosphere and Planetary Electrodynamics Response Experiment (AMPERE), while the conductances are modeled by Sami3 is Also a Model of the Ionosphere (SAMI3). This is a development of the Magnetosphere‐Ionosphere Coupling approach first demonstrated by Merkin and Lyon (2010),
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- DOI PREFIX: 10.1029
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- Space Weather
- Medium: X
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- National Science Foundation
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Fregion ionosphere frequently exhibits sporadic variability (e.g., Meek, 1949, https://doi.org/10.1029/JZ054i004p00339; Hill, 1963, https://doi.org/10.1175/1520‐0469(1963)020<0492:SEOLII>2.0.CO;2). Recent satellite data analysis (Noja et al., 2013, https://doi.org/10.1002/rds.20033; Chartier et al., 2018, https://doi.org/10.1002/2017JA024811) showed that the high‐latitude Fregion ionosphere exhibits sporadic enhancements more frequently in January than in July in both the northern and southern hemispheres. The same pattern has been seen in statistics of the degradation and total loss of GPS service onboard low‐Earth orbit satellites (Xiong et al. 2018, https://doi.org/10.5194/angeo‐36‐679‐2018). Here, we confirm the existence of this annual pattern using ground GPS‐based images of TEC from the MIDAS algorithm. Images covering January and July 2014 confirm that the high‐latitude (>70 MLAT) Fregion exhibits a substantially larger range of values in January than in July in both the northern and southern hemispheres. The range of TEC values observed in the polar caps is 38–57 TECU (north‐south) in January versus 25–37 TECU in July. First‐principle modeling using SAMI3 reproduces this pattern, and indicates that it is caused by an asymmetry in plasma levels (30% higher in January than in July across both polar caps), as well as 17% longer O+plasma lifetimes in northern hemisphere winter, compared to southern hemisphere winter.
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