All Physics Faculty Publications

Equatorial F-regionvertical plasma drifts during solar maxima

Document Type


Journal/Book Title/Conference

Journal of Geophysical Research




American Geophysical Union

Publication Date


First Page



Incoherent scatter radar measurements at Jicamarca are used to study the effects of large solar fluxes and magnetic activity on the F region vertical plasma drifts. The average drifts from the two last solar maxima are almost identical except in the late afternoon-early evening sector where their variations with solar flux and magnetic activity are strongly season dependent. The average evening winter (May-August) drifts appear to remain almost constant after a certain solar flux level is reached but increase with magnetic activity. The equinoctial evening drifts increase systematically with solar-flux but decrease with magnetic activity. Very large prereversal enhancement velocities, up to about 80 m/s, were often observed during the 1978–1981 equinoctial periods when the solar flux was very high. Comparison of incoherent scatter radar drifts with vertical velocities inferred from ionosonde observations indicate that the latter technique substantially underestimates the plasma drifts during periods of large solar fluxes except during winter.