First observational evidence for opposite zonal electric fields in equatorial E and F region altitudes during a geomagnetic storm period

S. Tulasi Ram, N. Balan, B. Veenadhari, S. Gurubaran, S. Ravindran, T. Tsugawa, Huixin Liu, K. Niranjan, T. Nagatsuma

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The strong westward electrojet and simultaneous upward drift of the equatorial ionospheric peak observed over South-East Asia and Indian equatorial regions during the prolonged Dst minimum phase of an intense geomagnetic storm during 14-15 December 2006 are investigated for the altitudinal variation of zonal electric field polarity using ground based and space-borne observations. The results show first observational evidence for simultaneous existence of daytime westward and eastward zonal electric fields at equatorial E and F region altitudes, respectively, in a wide longitude sector. While the westward electric fields at E region altitudes cause westward electrojet, at the same time, the eastward zonal electric fields at F region altitudes cause the upward drift of the equatorial ionospheric peak and reinforcement of the equatorial ionization anomaly (EIA) even in the topside ionosphere (̃660 km). The reversal of the electric fields is found to occur at ̃280 km height. A clear bifurcation of F region plasma at ̃280 km is evident in the iso-electron density contours due to these oppositely polarized zonal electric fields, which manifests as an unusually deep cusp between F1 and F2 layers on equatorial ionograms.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberA09318
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 2012


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geophysics
  • Forestry
  • Oceanography
  • Aquatic Science
  • Ecology
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Soil Science
  • Geochemistry and Petrology
  • Earth-Surface Processes
  • Atmospheric Science
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Space and Planetary Science
  • Palaeontology

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