Open Access

The seasonal and solar cycle variations of electron density gradient scale length during magnetically disturbed days: implications for Spread F

Earth, Planets and Space200961:BF03353202

https://doi.org/10.1186/BF03353202

Received: 12 September 2007

Accepted: 9 January 2009

Published: 31 August 2009

Abstract

The behaviour of electron density gradient scale length, L, around post-sunset hours during the magnetically disturbed days of the summer, winter and equinox seasons of solar maximum (2002) and minimum years (1995) has been studied, using ionosonde data of Trivandrum (8.5°N, 76.5°E, dip = 0.5°N) in the Indian longitude sector. The results indicate a clear seasonal and solar cycle variation in L. Seasonal variations of the maximum vertical drift of the F layer were also examined on these days. In particular, the seasonal variation of the Equatorial Spread F (ESF) during this period is examined in terms of the relative roles of L and the vertical drift of the F layer in the triggering of the collisional Rayleigh-Taylor instability. Our results on the clear-cut seasonal and solar cycle variation in L for disturbed days and its control of ESF occurrence are presented and discussed.

Key words

Equatorial ionosphereionospheric irregularitiesplasma instabilityEquatorial Spread F