The correlation of plasma density distributions over 5000 km with solar illumination of the ionosphere: Solar cycle and zenith angle observations

M. T. Johnson, J. R. Wygant

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Abstract

Measurements from the Polar electric field instrument are used to infer the thermal electron density of the polar cap for invariant latitudes (ILAT) > 80° as function of solar zenith angle (SZA) over a solar cycle. Results for altitudes from 1.75 to 2.0 RE geocentric show an increase in the plasma density for daytime ionospheric measurements as the solar cycle activity increases. Densities are found to increase from ∼75 cm-3 at solar minimum by over a factor of 2 at solar maximum. The density measurements are also shown to increase with increasing solar F10.7 flux for SZA < 70° and remain relatively constant for SZA > 110°. These measurements are consistent with solar extreme ultraviolet (EUV) control of plasma density at these altitudes over the polar cap. The influence of solar EUV on plasma density is shown to extend to altitudes up to 4.5 RE geocentric.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)SSC 9-1 - SSC 9-4
JournalGeophysical Research Letters
Volume30
Issue number24
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 15 2003

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