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Transient variations of vertical total electron content at low latitude during the period 2013–2017

Abstract : We use GPS networks to measure the vertical Total Electron Content (VTEC) variations at low latitude, in three longitude sectors: America, Europe-Africa and Asia, collected during the period 2013-2017. This period corresponds to the increasing phase of the solar cycle 24 (SC#24) observed around 2013-2014 as well as the decreasing phase around 2014-2017. Our results discussed a morphological analysis of regular variations in ionization during different phases of solar activity: daytime variations, seasonal and semiannual variations and variations based on the solar cycle 24 in three longitude sectors. In all longitude sectors, the highest VTEC values are displayed during the two months of the spring, located after sunrise and before sunset. The lowest values are found during the summer and winter seasons. We found that the winter anomaly and the presence of equinoxial peaks are the most pronounced effects in VTECs in the increasing and decreasing phase of the SC#24. A strong asymmetry is detected between equinoxial peaks and the location of peaks occurring in March/April and October/November at maximum in the solar flux variations during the increase phase. We show that the daily VTEC maximum values were registered between 14:00 and 16:00 LT and the minimum values between 4:00 and 6:00 LT. Double ionization peak in the morning and evening is observed in VTEC annual variations, due to the proximity of the equatorial fountain stations. From the statistical analysis part, we observed practically the same distribution of the different classes of VTEC (two peaks, bell-shaped and plateau-shaped) variations in the three sectors of longitude. These observations indicate longitudinal variation in the presence of the winter anomaly in the Equatorial Ionized Anomaly (EIA) region. Additionally, we can note a longitudinal variation of the spring-autumn VTEC asymmetry in the EIA region during the five years 2013-2017. We observe also that the occurrence of nocturnal peak recorded around 19 local time (LT) shows the same characteristics as the vertical drift E x B (B: magnetic field is perpendicular to E: electric field.) with respect to solar cycle, season and longitude. Three essential characteristics we noted: 1) the occurrence of the nocturnal peak generally follows the solar cycle. 2) The occurrence of the nocturnal peak is generally stronger at the equinoxes than at the solstices. 3) The occurrence of the nocturnal peak is stronger in the Europe-Africa and America sectors than in the Asia sector. As a result, nocturnal peak occurrence is well related to the PRE at the origin of the GNSS signal scintillations.
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Submitted on : Monday, August 30, 2021 - 12:23:20 PM
Last modification on : Friday, August 5, 2022 - 2:54:52 PM


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Ali O Hammou, N. Zaourar, R. Fleury, C. Amory-Mazaudier. Transient variations of vertical total electron content at low latitude during the period 2013–2017. Advances in Space Research, Elsevier, 2021, 68 (12), pp.4857-4871. ⟨10.1016/j.asr.2021.02.039⟩. ⟨hal-03328757⟩



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