Movements of the mid-latitude ionospheric trough

A new method for monitoring the position and movement of large ionospheric structures is described. The technique uses data from an ionosonde nominally operating at vertical incidence, but relies on there being present a significant gradient in electron concentration. The position and dynamics of the poleward edge of the mid-latitude trough over Halley Bay, Antarctica (L = 4.2) is investigated using this method. Analyses show that the trough moves rapidly equatorward over Halley Bay in the early evening hours, during geomagnetically active periods. For magnetically quiet periods, the trough is not observed till after midnight, when its equatorward motion is comparatively slow. These results showed marked differences from those predicted from published empirical relationships describing variations in trough position with time, particularly before midnight. Changes in the position of the plasmapause with time, determined from two theoretical models and from observations are compared with these results for the trough. Also, one case study is presented in which there is determination of the positions of both the trough and the plasmapause over a 7 h period. Similarities and differences in their relative positions and movements of the two features are identified and their possible causes are briefly discussed.


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Authors: Rodger, Alan S., Pinnock, Michael

On this site: Michael Pinnock
1 January, 1982
Journal of Atmospheric and Terrestrial Physics / 44
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