A latitudinal network of GPS receivers dedicated to studies of equatorial spread F



[1] Five GPS receivers have been deployed near the 74°W longitude meridian to measure the variability of total electron content (TEC) latitudinal profiles and to study the relation of this variability with the onset and evolution of spread F plasma structures. These five GPS receivers, together with two others that form part of the International GPS Service (IGS) network, three more that belong to the South Andes Project network, and an additional receiver located at Ancon, Peru, provide TEC values between 8°N and 40°S geographic latitude. In addition, all five GPS receivers managed by Boston College give the amplitude scintillation on a near-real time basis. This fact allows us to know the maximum latitude to which the irregularities extend and to infer the maximum altitude of the plasma bubbles. We have calculated TEC latitudinal profiles using the TEC values obtained by all the receivers between 1998 and 2001. We found that during the equinoxes, UHF scintillations occur when the ratio of the crest to the trough of the anomaly is 2 or larger. During the December solstice the crest is not very pronounced, but a sharp decrease of TEC at the magnetic equator precedes the onset of 1-km scale irregularities. We have also examined a longitudinal variability of scintillations by partitioning the sky in two sectors separated at the 74°W meridian. We consistently observe a greater number of GPS scintillation events at the eastern longitudes over the Amazon rain forest. This intriguing finding could well be explained by a larger population of gravity waves at longitudes east of the Andes.