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Thermospheric F-region TravellingDisturbances Detected at Low Latitude by an OI 630 nm Digital Imager System

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Advances in Space Research







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Gravity wave effects in the nocturnal thermospheric F-region domain are seldom detected in the intertropical region by optical (airglow) techniques, especially during geomagnetically quiet times, in part because the low inclination of the magnetic field, as opposed to the case of the mid-latitude region, does not favor significant vertical excursions of ionospheric plasma in response to meridional winds. Such difficulty in detecting gravity wave signatures in the F-region by means of optical techniques tends to increase in the absence of geomagnetic storms because of the lack of strong forcing mechanisms necessary to generate high intensity gravity waves. The purpose of this work is to show that during the quiet day of 9 August 1999, the Terminator may have been a source region of wave-like disturbances in the nocturnal F-region at the low-latitude station Cachoeira Paulista (22°41'S; 45°00W, dip 30°). A digital all-sky OI 630nm imager system located at that station has shown propagating wave-like spatial structures in the airglow intensity near the Terminator. This observation supports a previous study on the evidence of the presence of gravity waves during the post-sunset period at the same location by means of a scanning photometer system (1997, Sobral, J. Atmos. Terr. Phys.59, 1611–1623). The absence of range-type spread-F as monitored by a local digisonde and the absence of radio wave scintillation as monitored by a local GPS receiver, excludes the hypothesis that the wave-like airglow structures are associated with the occurrence of the ionospheric plasma bubbles. Downwards motion of the iso-density real height contours at 22.0 ms−1 and 33.1 ms−1 are observed. The wave detection by the imager system is reported and discussed here.


Published by Elsevier in Advances in Space Research.

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