On the Genesis of Postmidnight Equatorial Spread F: Results for the American/Peruvian Sector
Previous studies of the Earth's low-latitude ionosphere using in situ measurements made by sensors on the Communication/Navigation Outage Forecasting System (C/NOFS) satellite showed an unexpected predominance of equatorial spread F (ESF) events in the postmidnight sector during June and December solstice months of the 2008–2009 deep solar minimum. It has been suggested that these events might have been driven by the unusual behavior of the equatorial plasma drifts, which showed an abnormal upward peak around midnight during the same period. We use coherent backscatter radar (Jicamarca Unattended Long-term Investigations of the Ionosphere and Atmosphere - JULIA) measurements made at the Jicamarca Radio Observatory (11.95°S, 76.87°W, ~1° dip lat) in Peru to better understand the origin of the ESF irregularities observed by C/NOFS. The radar observations show that ESF events during December solstice start in the postsunset sector. These ESF events and the conditions for their development are shown to continue through midnight hours. The predominance of postmidnight irregularities on C/NOFS observations during December solstice is caused by the slow vertical development of the ESF structures, which only reach the topside near midnight in most cases. On June solstice, however, JULIA observations show that ESF started predominately in the midnight to postmidnight sector. Collocated digisonde observations provide additional insight on F-region conditions leading to these ESF events. ©2018. American Geophysical Union. All Rights Reserved.