Average Ionospheric Middle and Low Latitudes Nighttime Zonal Currents Deduced From CHAMP
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Average Ionospheric Middle and Low Latitudes Nighttime Zonal Currents Deduced From CHAMP

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  • Journal Title:
    Journal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics
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    By utilizing magnetic field measurements collected by CHAMP during the years 2001–2009, average characteristics of nighttime ionospheric zonal currents at middle and low latitudes are investigated. We provide for the first time the detailed dependencies of these currents on location, local time, season, and the level of solar activity. The main results obtained are (1) the nighttime zonal ionospheric currents at F-region altitude, derived from the vertical magnetic component, exhibit on average height-integrated current densities up to 10 mA/m. The amplitude varies quasi-linearly with F10.7 flux level. (2) During equinoxes symmetric current systems at F-region altitude are found in the two hemispheres. After sunset, eastward currents dominate at low latitudes, fading away toward midnight. After midnight regions of eastward currents are observed at midlatitude. During solstice seasons, eastward currents are enhanced in the summer hemisphere; westward currents are stronger in local winter. (3) Longitudinal variations of F-region currents show clear wave-1 patterns. This is related to the effect of the stationary planetary wave-1 and the diurnal nonmigrating tide, D0. This dominant tidal signal, enhancing eastward currents over the Pacific region, appears at middle and low latitudes and during all seasons. (4) At the magnetic equator, signs of the equatorial electrojet (EEJ) are evident after 02:30 MLT. Intensity of westward currents in the narrow band increases toward sunrise. Longitudinal variations of the EEJ show a similar wave-1 pattern as F-region currents. Here the westward current density is enhanced over Africa/India. The EEJ wave-1 modulation is strongest around June solstice.
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    Journal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics, 125, e2019JA027702
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