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  1. null (Ed.)
  2. Abstract

    Ionospheric F‐region electron density is anomalously higher in the evening than during the daytime on many occasions in the summer in geomagnetic mid‐latitude regions. This unexpected ionospheric diurnal variation has been studied for several decades. The underlying processes have been suggested to be related to meridional winds, topside influx arising from sunset ionospheric collapse, and other factors. However, substantial controversies remain unresolved. Using a numerical model driven by the statistical topsideO+diffusive flux from the Millstone Hill incoherent scatter radar data, we provide new insight into the competing roles of topside diffusive flux, neutral winds, and electric fields in forming the evening density peak. Simulations indicate that while meridional winds, which turn equatorward before sunset, are essential to sustain the daytime ionization near dusk, the topside diffusive flux is critically important for the formation and timing of the summer evening density peak.

     
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