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An olden but golden EISCAT observation of a quiet-time ionospheric trough

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Autori: 1. M. Voiculescu; Nygren, T.; Aikio, A.; Kuula, R

Editorial: Journal of Geophysical Research, Vol. 115, No. A10, A10315, doi:10.1029/2010JA015557, 2010.


Incoherent scatter measurements were carried out on 9 November 1987, showing the presence of an ionospheric trough in the F region. The experiment was made using the EISCAT UHF radar, and it consisted of an azimuthal scan with constant beam elevation and a meridional scan. Since the radar rotates with the Earth, beams with different directions from subsequent scans meet in the same MLT-CGMLat pixel in non-rotating frame. If the ionosphere is not too variable, these can be combined to give an average value of electron density and ion/electron temperature in each pixel. Furthermore, since different beams passing through the same pixel give different ion velocity components, it is also possible to obtain the velocity vector. The geomagnetic conditions during the observations were quiet enough for assuming a quasi-stationary ionosphere.
It was found that both ion and electron temperatures have minima within the trough region and increase at the poleward wall. Ion velocity measurements together with a convection model suggest that the density depletion within the trough is due to recombination of F region plasma convecting for a long time in the dusk convection cell beyond the terminator. The northern edge of the trough is associated with soft particle precipitation. The southern edge is steeper than the northern edge and the southern edge is built by sunlit plasma brought to the trough region by co-rotation. The trough is thus a result of a combination of transport and precipitation processes rather than stagnation.

Cuvinte cheie: ionospheric trough, incoherent scatter radar, auroral F region