Comparison of storm time equatorial ionospheric electrodynamics in the African and American sectors

Comparison of storm time equatorial ionospheric electrodynamics in the African and American sectors

E. Yizengaw a ,M.B. Moldwin b, A. Mebrahtu c, B. Damtie d, E. Zesta e, C.E. Valladares a, P. Doherty a

aInstitute for Scientific Research, Boston College, Boston, USA, bDepartment of Atmospheric, Oceanic and Space Sciences, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, USA, cDepartment of Physics, Mekelle University, Mekelle, Ethiopia, dWashera Geospace and Radar Science Laboratory, Bahir Dar University, Bahir Dar, Ethiopia, eAir Force Research Laboratory, AFRL/VSBXP, Hanscom AFB, USA

Journal of Atmospheric and Solar-Terrestrial Physics 73 (2011) 156–163

Correspondence to:

E. Yizengaw
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Key Points:


Abstract:

The characteristics of storm time (corotating interaction regions (CIR)-driven storm that happened on 9 August 2008) equatorial electrojet (EEJ) phenomena and their effect on the ionospheric density structure at two different longitudinal sectors are presented. Equatorial magnetometer data, occultation density profiles from COSMIC and CHAMP LEO satellites, and ground-based GPS TEC are used. We find unusual density reduction around local noon at the same time when we observe the reversal of electrojet current and thus counter-equatorial electrojet (CEJ) signatures. The continuous energy deposition in to high latitudes due to the CIR-driven storm that triggers the E-region dynamo and the penetrating magnetospheric origin electric field is suggested to be responsible for the reversal of equatorial electrojet current flows. We also compare the magnitude and direction of the driving force (E  B drift) in the American and African sectors for the first time. It was found that at the same local time the E  B drift in the American sector is stronger than that of the African sector. Previously, the uneven distribution of ground-based instruments hindered our ability to obtain a global understanding of the dynamics and structure of the ionosphere. The newly deployed ground-based instruments, primarily in the African sector, provide the opportunity to observe the governing equatorial electrodynamics simultaneously with the ionospheric density structures detected by the instrument onboard low-Earth-orbit (LEO) satellites. To our knowledge this is the first simultaneous observation performed in the African sector. This case study may provide additional input that could be used to explain the unique density irregularities that are often seen from in situ satellite observation in the African sector, a region that has been devoid of ground-based instrumentations.

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