Open Access

Relative effects of electric field and neutral wind on positive ionospheric storms

  • N. Balan18, 68,
  • H. Alleyne18,
  • Y. Otsuka28,
  • D. Vijaya Lekshmi38,
  • B. G. Fejer48 and
  • I. McCrea58
Earth, Planets and Space200961:BF03353160

Received: 6 September 2007

Accepted: 1 February 2008

Published: 14 May 2009


The paper studies the relative importance of penetrating eastward electric field (PEEF) and direct effects of equatorward neutral wind in leading to positive ionospheric storms at low-mid latitudes using observations and modeling. The observations show strong positive ionospheric storms in total electron content (TEC) and peak electron density (Nmax) at low-mid latitudes in Japan longitudes (≈125°E–145°E) during the first main phase (started at sunrise on 08 November) of a super double geomagnetic storm during 07–11 November 2004. The model results obtained using the Sheffield University Plasmashpere Ionosphere Model (SUPIM) show that the direct effects of storm-time equatorward neutral wind (that reduce poleward plasma flow and raise the ionosphere to high altitudes of reduced chemical loss) can be the main driver of positive ionospheric storms at low-mid latitudes except in Nmax around the equator. The equatorward wind without PEEF can also result in stronger positive ionospheric storms than with PEEF. Though PEEF on its own is unlikely to cause positive ionospheric storms, it can lead to positive ionospheric storms in the presence of an equatorward wind.

Key words

Ionospheric stormselectric fieldneutral wind