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Departures from diffusive equilibrium in the topside F-layer from satellite soundings

Lockwood, M. and Titheridge, J.E. (1982) Departures from diffusive equilibrium in the topside F-layer from satellite soundings. Journal of Atmospheric and Terrestrial Physics, 44 (5). pp. 425-440. ISSN 00219169

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1016/0021-9169(82)90049-6


A method for the detection of O+ ion fluxes from topside soundings is described. The shape of the plasma scale-height profile is altered by such flows only at heights near the F2-peak, where ion-neutral drag is large. Model profiles are used to relate changes in scale height to the ratio (φ/φL) where φ is the field-aligned O+ flux (relative to the neutral air) and φL is the limiting value set by frictional drag. Values of (φ/φL) can then be determined to within a few per cent from experimental soundings, using the plasma temperature and its gradient (as deduced from the observed profile) and the MSIS model neutral temperature. It was found that 3700 topside profiles show departures from diffusive equilibrium, out of 10,000 used to obtain the global morphology of (φ/φL) near the sunspot minimum. Results reveal dynamic ion-flow effects such as the transequatorial breeze and the effects of the polar wind and protonospheric replenishment light-ion flows can be inferred.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:No Reading authors. Back catalogue items
Science > School of Mathematical, Physical and Computational Sciences > Department of Meteorology
ID Code:38927

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