| Impact of midnight thermosphere dynamics on the equatorial ionospheric vertical drifts - :15253 | National Weather Service (NWS)
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Impact of midnight thermosphere dynamics on the equatorial ionospheric vertical drifts
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  • Description:
    Recent satellite and ground-based observations have revealed the existence of upward drifts in the postmidnight equatorial ionosphere (similar to 0-3LT). The phenomenon has not been explained by theoretical models. Simulations using the Whole Atmosphere Model coupled with the Global Ionosphere Plasmasphere model have successfully reproduced the unusual nighttime upward drifts. The simulations and observations by the Ion Velocity Meter onboard the Communications/Navigation Outage Forecasting System also reveal substantial longitudinal dependence of the drifts. Our analysis indicates that the upward drifts are driven by thermosphere dynamics associated with the midnight temperature maximum (MTM). The MTM locally reverses the typical large-scale zonal and meridional wind pattern, in turn affecting the nighttime F layer electrodynamics. In addition, the longitudinal variation of the drifts in different seasons depends on the magnitude and position of the MTM peak relative to the magnetic equator.

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