skip to main content


Title: On the Role of Mild Substorms and Enhanced Hall Conductivity in the Plasma Irregularities Onset and Zonal Drift Reversals: Experimental Evidence at Distinct Longitudes Over South America
Abstract

The 14‐panel Advanced Modular Incoherent Scatter Radar (AMISR‐14) system deployed at Jicamarca observed equatorial spread F plumes on two consecutive nights under unfavorable seasonal and solar flux conditions during a period that can be categorized as geomagnetically quiet. The AMISR‐14 capability of observing in multiple pointing directions allowed the characterization of the irregularity zonal drifts revealing that, in addition to their atypical occurrence, the zonal drifts of these plumes/irregularities also presented distinct patterns from one night to another, reversing from east to west on the second night. This work addresses two main subjects: (a) the mechanisms that may have led to the generation of these irregularities, despite the unfavorable conditions, and (b) the mechanisms that possibly led to the reversal (east‐to‐west) in the zonal plasma drift on the second night. To do so a multi‐instrumented and multi‐location investigation was performed. The results indicate the occurrence of simultaneous spread‐F events over the Peruvian and the Brazilian regions, evidencing a non‐local process favoring the development of the irregularities. The results also suggest that, even under very mild geomagnetic perturbation conditions, the recurring penetration of electric fields in the equatorial ionosphere can occur promptly, modifying the equatorial electrodynamics and providing favorable conditions for the plume development. Moreover, the results confirm that the eastward penetration electric fields, combined with the upsurge of Hall conductivity in the nighttime typically associated with the presence of sporadic‐E layers, are likely to be the mechanism leading to the reversal in the irregularity zonal drifts over these regions.

 
more » « less
NSF-PAR ID:
10477525
Author(s) / Creator(s):
 ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  
Publisher / Repository:
DOI PREFIX: 10.1029
Date Published:
Journal Name:
Earth and Space Science
Volume:
10
Issue:
11
ISSN:
2333-5084
Format(s):
Medium: X
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
More Like this
  1. Abstract We introduce a new numerical model developed to assist with Data Interpretation and Numerical Analysis of ionospheric Missions and Observations (DINAMO). DINAMO derives the ionospheric electrostatic potential at low- and mid-latitudes from a two-dimensional dynamo equation and user-specified inputs for the state of the ionosphere and thermosphere (I–T) system. The potential is used to specify the electric fields and associated F -region E × B plasma drifts. Most of the model was written in Python to facilitate the setup of numerical experiments and to engage students in numerical modeling applied to space sciences. Here, we illustrate applications and results of DINAMO in two different analyses. First, DINAMO is used to assess the ability of widely used I–T climatological models (IRI-2016, NRLMSISE-00, and HWM14), when used as drivers, to produce a realistic representation of the low-latitude electrodynamics. In order to evaluate the results, model E × B drifts are compared with observed climatology of the drifts derived from long-term observations made by the Jicamarca incoherent scatter radar. We found that the climatological I–T models are able to drive many of the features of the plasma drifts including the diurnal, seasonal, altitudinal and solar cycle variability. We also identified discrepancies between modeled and observed drifts under certain conditions. This is, in particular, the case of vertical equatorial plasma drifts during low solar flux conditions, which were attributed to a poor specification of the E -region neutral wind dynamo. DINAMO is then used to quantify the impact of meridional currents on the morphology of F -region zonal plasma drifts. Analytic representations of the equatorial drifts are commonly used to interpret observations. These representations, however, commonly ignore contributions from meridional currents. Using DINAMO we show that that these currents can modify zonal plasma drifts by up to ~ 16 m/s in the bottom-side post-sunset F -region, and up to ~ 10 m/s between 0700 and 1000 LT for altitudes above 500 km. Finally, DINAMO results show the relationship between the pre-reversal enhancement (PRE) of the vertical drifts and the vertical shear in the zonal plasma drifts with implications for equatorial spread F. 
    more » « less
  2. Abstract

    Radar and sounding rocket observations of plasma irregularities in theF‐region ionosphere acquired on 19 June 2019 during NASA experiment Too WINDY on Kwajalein Atoll are presented. The experiment was conducted near local midnight during a period of low solar flux and quiet geomagnetic conditions. Plasma density irregularities were seen by the rocket and also in the incoherent scatter radar data to emerge and persist mainly in the topside. Density irregularities in the bottomside remained very small by comparison throughout the observations. Zonal plasma drifts measured by the rocket were highly structured in the topside. Patches of coherent scatter entrained in the large‐scale topside density irregularities appeared to propagate slowly westward in a narrow flow channel detected by the rocket. Broadband ELF emissions were also detected in the topside. Some of the characteristics of the topside irregularities are typical of postsunset equatorialF‐region irregularities observed frequently by coherent scatter radars, and some of the common features in the coherent scatter database are reviewed. Two scenarios that have been proposed to account for postmidnight spreadFare tested computationally. One involves unseasonably large background zonal electric fields, and the other involves forcing from below by neutral waves and turbulence. Neither scenario appears to be able to account for the Too WINDY observations and the preponderance of topside irregularities without bottomside precursors in particular.

     
    more » « less
  3. Abstract. In March 2014 an all-sky imager (ASI) was installed at the Jicamarca Radio Observatory (11.95°S, 76.87°W; 0.3°S MLAT). We present results of equatorial spread F (ESF) characteristics observed at Jicamarca and at low latitudes. Optical 6300 and 7774Å airglow observations from the Jicamarca ASI are compared with other collocated instruments and with ASIs at El Leoncito, Argentina (31.8°S, 69.3°W; 19.8°S MLAT), and Villa de Leyva, Colombia (5.6°N, 73.52°W; 16.4°N MLAT). We use Jicamarca radar data, in incoherent and coherent modes, to obtain plasma parameters and detect echoes from irregularities. We find that ESF depletions tend to appear in groups with a group-to-group separation around 400–500km and within-group separation around 50–100km. We combine data from the three ASIs to investigate the conditions at Jicamarca that could lead to the development of high-altitude, or topside, plumes. We compare zonal winds, obtained from a Fabry–Pérot interferometer, with plasma drifts inferred from the zonal motion of plasma depletions. In addition to the ESF studies we also investigate the midnight temperature maximum and its effects at higher latitudes, visible as a brightness wave at El Leoncito. The ASI at Jicamarca along with collocated and low-latitude instruments provide a clear two-dimensional view of spatial and temporal evolution of ionospheric phenomena at equatorial and low latitudes that helps to explain the dynamics and evolution of equatorial ionospheric/thermospheric processes.

     
    more » « less
  4. Abstract

    We used reanalyzed Jicamarca radar measurements to study the response of equatorial ionospheric electrodynamics and spread F during the main phase of the large September 2017 geomagnetic storm. Our observations near dusk on 7 September show very large upward drifts followed by a large short‐lived downward drift perturbation that completely suppressed the lower F region plasma irregularities and severely decreased the backscattered power from the higher altitude spread F. We suggest that this large short‐lived westward electric field perturbation is most likely of magnetospheric origin and is due to a sudden and very strong magnetic field reconfiguration. Later in the early night period, data indicate large, mostly upward, drift perturbations generally consistent with standard undershielding and overshielding electric field effects, but with amplitudes significantly larger than expected. Our analysis suggests that occurrence of storm‐time substorms is one of the major factors causing the large nighttime westward and eastward electric field perturbations observed at Jicamarca near the storm main phase. Our analysis also suggests that magnetospheric substorms play far more important roles on the electrodynamics of the equatorial nighttime ionosphere than has generally been thought.

     
    more » « less
  5. Abstract

    Equatorial plasma bubble (EPB) development during different phases of the geomagnetic storm of 3–4 November 2021 (SYMHmin = −118 nT) was examined using observations and simulations. The initial phase of the storm coincided with postsunset (about 30 min after sunset) at Fortaleza (FZ) and São Luís (SL) with longitudes of ∼38.45°W and ∼44°W respectively on November 3 while the recovery phase of the storm started at 12:45 UT on November 4. GOLD shows the longest (shortest) extension of EPBs on November 3 (4) compared to days before and after November 3 and 4, including quiet days. This indicates an intensification (weakening) of EPBs on November 3 (4). From ionosondes at FZ and SL, a strong (weak) range spread F (SSF (RSF)) was observed on November 3 (4). The postsunset peak F layer height on November 3 reached 450 km and exceeded the preceding and succeeding days by ∼50–100 km at SL indicating the presence of a Prompt Penetration Electric Field (PPEF) which enhanced EPB development via the favorable postsunset vertical E x B and Rayleigh‐Taylor instability (RTI) mechanisms on November 3. The lower‐than‐quiet time F layer height observed on November 4 during Pre‐reversal enhancement (PRE) indicates the presence of a westward‐oriented Disturbance Dynamo Electric Field (DDEF) that undermined RTI growth and led to the weakening of EPB development. Simulation results confirm that the storm‐time electric fields modified the evening‐time ionosphere and influenced the magnitude of verticalE x Bdrift required for the development of EPBs.

     
    more » « less