Date of Award:


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Degree Name:

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)




Bela G. Fejer


We used ion drift observations from the DE-2 satellite to study for the first time the longitudinal variations of middle and low latitude F-region zonal plasma drifts during quiet and disturbed conditions. The daytime quiet-time drifts do not change much with longitude. In the dusk-premidnight period, the equinoctial middle latitude westward drifts are smallest in the European sector, and the low latitude eastward drifts are largest in the American-Pacific sector. The longitudinal variations of the late night-early morning drifts during June and December solstice are anti-correlated. During geomagnetically active time s, there are large westward perturbation drifts in the late afternoon-early night sector at upper middle latitudes and in the midnight sector at low latitudes. The largest westward disturbed drifts during equinox occur in the European sector and the smallest in the Pacific region. These results suggest that during equinox, Subauroral Polarization Streams (SAPS) events occur most often at European longitudes. The low latitude perturbation drifts do not show significant longitudinal dependence.

We have used five years of measurements on board the ROCSA T-1 satellite to develop a detailed local-time, season, and longitude-dependent quiet-time global empirical model for equatorial F-region vertical plasma drifts. We show that the longitudinal dependence of the daytime and nighttime vertical drifts is much stronger than reported earlier, especially during December and June solstice. The late night downward drift velocities are larger in the eastern than in the western hemisphere at all seasons, the morning and afternoon December solstice drifts have significantly different longitudinal dependence, and the daytime upward drifts have strong wavenumber-four signatures during equinox and June solstice. The largest evening upward drifts occur during equinox and December solstice near the American sector. The longitudinal variations of the evening prereversal velocity peaks during December and June solstice are anti-correlated, which further indicates the importance of conductivity effects on the electrodynamics of the equatorial ionosphere. We have shown that disturbance dynamo largely does not affect daytime drifts. The upward perturbations during the nighttime are largely season independent, but near the prereversal enhancement, the downward perturbation drifts are largest during equinox and smallest during December.



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