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Diurnal Variation of the Dayside, Ionospheric, mid-Latitude Trough in the Southern Hemisphere at 800 km: Model and Measurement Comparison

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Planetary and Space Science





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Our high latitude ionospheric model predicts the existence of a pronounced “dayside” trough in plasma concentration equatorward of the auroral oval in both the Northern and Southern Hemispheres for solar maximum, winter, and low geomagnetic activity conditions. The trough in the Southern Hemisphere is much deeper than that in the Northern Hemisphere, with the minimum trough density at 800 km being 2 × 103 cm−3 in the Southern Hemisphere and 104 cm−3 in the Northern Hemisphere. The dayside trough has a strong longitudinal (diurnal) dependence and appears between 11:00 and 19:00 U.T. in the Southern Hemisphere and between 02:00 and 08:00 U.T. in the Northern Hemisphere. This dayside trough is a result of the auroral oval moving to larger solar zenith angles at those universal times when the magnetic pole is on the antisunward side of the geographic pole. As the auroral ionization source moves to higher geographic latitudes, it leaves a region of declining photoionization on the dayside. For low convection speeds, the ionosphere decays and a dayside trough forms. The trough is deeper in the Southern Hemisphere than in the Northern Hemisphere because of the greater offset between the geomagnetic and geographic poles. Satellite data taken in both the Northern and Southern Hemispheres confirm the gross features of the dayside trough, including its strong longitudinal dependence, its depth, and the asymmetry between the Northern and Southern Hemisphere troughs.


Originally published by Elsevier. Publisher’s PDF available through remote link.