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Universal variation of the F2-layer critical frequency and solar activity


Regular variations of the F2-layer in the quiet ionosphere are studied using the universal variation of the F2-layer critical frequency, i.e. the dependence of the instantaneous mean-longitudinal value of foF2 at a fixed latitude on universal time (UT). Algorithms for the universal variation calculation have been developed and are used to process the ionospheric vertical sounding data for 1957–1990. It is shown that the foF2-universal variation forms are es-sentially different for solar minima and maxima years. In the solar minima years, the foF2-universal variation is similar to the known universal variation of the atmospheric electric field near the Earth’s surface which has a maximum at 19 UT. There is no foF2-universal variation seasonal change in solar minimum years. The foF2-universal variation form changes for solar maximum years have a minimum of foF2, at 16–17 UT, and there are small seasonal changes in the foF2-universal variation. Such behaviour of the foF2-universal variation suggests that under the quiet conditions in solar minimum years the electric field penetrates from the lower atmospheric layers up to the F2 layer of the ionosphere.


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Kuznetsov, V.V., Plotkin, V.V., Nesterova, G.V. et al. Universal variation of the F2-layer critical frequency and solar activity. Earth Planet Sp 50, 57–61 (1998).

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  • Solar Activity
  • Solar Cycle
  • Solar Minimum
  • Universal Time
  • International Reference Ionosphere