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Solar flux effects on the equatorial evening vertical drift and meridional winds over Brazil: A comparison between observational data and the IRI model and the HWM representations

Advances in Space Research
Publication Date
DOI: 10.1016/j.asr.2010.06.009
  • Equatorial Ionosphere
  • Meridional Winds
  • Prereversal Vertical Drift
  • Equatorial Electric Fields
  • Solar Flux Dependence Ofvz


Abstract We present the results of a study of the equatorial evening F region prereversal vertical drift enhancement over Brazil as a function of solar flux (F10.7). The vertical drift is measured from true heights obtained from digisondes operated at an equatorial site, Sao Luis, and at an off equatorial site, Fortaleza. The different magnetic inclinations of the two sites cause different degree of dependence of the vertical drift on magnetic meridional winds permitting an evaluation of the solar flux control on both the evening vertical drift (zonal electric field) and meridional winds. The analysis period covers the year 2001 and 2004 during which the monthly mean F10.7 varied from 245 to 80. The solar flux dependence of the vertical drift of the evening F layer as obtained from the data are compared with the representation of such dependence in the IRI model. While the IRI description of such dependence appears comparable to that is determined from observational data there is significant difference between the drift values in the two cases, the IRI representation being an under-estimation of the observed drift for all flux values. The results are discussed from the perspective of validating the IRI model representations of the vertical drift. The results of the study also shows that the HWM description of the evening thermospheric meridional wind in the Brazilian sector, shows agreement with observation for lower F10.7 values, while it significantly deviates from the observed/calculated meridional wind for higher solar flux values.

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