Cause of different local time distribution in the postsunset equatorial ionospheric irregularity occurrences between June and December solstices

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Abstract

[1] Global averaged postsunset equatorial ionospheric density irregularity occurrences observed by ROCSAT during the moderate to high solar activity years of 1999 to 2004 indicate a different local time distribution between June and December solstices. The irregularity occurrences during the December solstice show a faster increase rate to peak at 2100–2200 local time, while the irregularity occurrences during the June solstice have a slower increase rate and peak one hour later in local time than that in the December solstice. The cause of such different local time distributions is attributed to a large contrast in the time of zonal drift reversal and the magnitude of postsunset vertical drift observed by ROCSAT at longitudes of large magnetic declination in the two solstices. That is, a delay in the zonal drift reversal in association with a smaller postsunset vertical drift observed at longitudes of positive magnetic declination has greatly inhibited the irregularity occurrences during the June solstice in contrast to an earlier zonal drift reversal together with a large vertical drift occurring at longitudes of negative magnetic declination to accelerate the irregularity occurrences during the December solstice. We think that the different geomagnetic field strengths that existed between the longitudes of positive and negative magnetic declinations have played a crucial role in determining the different local time distributions of irregularity occurrences for the two solstices.

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