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Title: Ionospheric annual anomaly-new insights to the physical mechanisms
Authors: Gowtam, V. Sai
Tulasi Ram, T.
Keywords: Ionosphere
VHF Scintillation
Plasma drift
Solar flux
Equatorial Plasma bubble
Issue Date: 2017
Citation: JGR, 122, 8816–8830, doi: 10.1002/2017JA024170
Abstract: The ionospheric annual anomaly or nonseasonal anomaly of the ionosphere is characterized by globally increased ionization in December solstice than in June solstice. Though this phenomenon was reported several decades ago, the causal mechanisms have not been fully understood till today. In this paper, the F2 layer peak electron density (NmF2) data from Formosa satellite 3/Constellation Observing System for Meteorology, Ionosphere, and Climate-radio occultation observations during the low solar activity year 2009 were systematically analyzed to investigate the physical mechanisms responsible for annual anomaly and its local time, latitudinal, and longitudinal variability. It is found that the annual anomaly is primarily dominant at Southern Hemisphere at all local times, with significant enhancements at equatorial ionization anomaly crest latitudes during noon to afternoon hours and at high latitudes during nighttimes. The annual anomaly in Northern Hemisphere occurs with relatively smaller magnitudes and confined only to morning to early afternoon hours (08–14 LT). This study brings out the important roles of effective neutral winds due to the geomagnetic field configuration and the offset between geomagnetic equator and subsolar point for the enhanced plasma density in the Southern Hemisphere during December that majorly contributes to the ionospheric annual anomaly. These results provide new insights to the responsible mechanisms behind the ionospheric annual anomaly and its local time latitudinal, and longitudinal variation.
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