Solar cycle variation of ionospheric parameters over the low latitude station Hainan, China, during 2002–2012 and its comparison with IRI-2012 model

Research paper by G.J. Wang, J.K. Shi, Z. Wang, X. Wang, E. Romanova, K. Ratovsky, N.M. Polekh

Indexed on: 10 Mar '17Published on: 21 Dec '16Published in: Advances in Space Research


The low latitude ionospheric data observed by digisonde at Hainan station (19.5°N, 109.1°E) in a whole solar activity cycle period from 2002 to 2012 within Ap < 20 have been analyzed to explore the diurnal, seasonal, annual variations and solar activity dependences of the ionospheric peak parameters (foF2, hmF2, and Chapman scale height Hm), as well as some quantitative comparison with IRI-2012 modeling predictions. The results show that the winter anomaly in the daytime foF2 appears at different levels of solar activity. The semiannual anomaly in the daytime and nighttime foF2 with two maxima in equinox seasons is present. The foF2 have a close correlation with a solar activity factor F107P = (F107 + F107A)/2 and the correlation coefficients (r) in their diurnal variation are around 0.7. The slope of foF2 varying with F107P in daytime is usually smaller than in nighttime. The afternoon and evening hmF2 show good correlation with F107P (their r values exceed 0.6), but hmF2 at other time are low or poor related to F107P. The prominent character of hmF2 in equinox and summer seasons is its strong increase at sunset in high solar activity period, which may be due to pre-reversal enhancement (PRE) of local electric field. We also note that hmF2 values around midnight slightly decrease with increasing F107P index in equinox seasons. The diurnal variation of Hm usually has two peaks around noontime and pre-sunrise. The daytime Hm has an annual variation with maximum in summer and minimum in winter. Moreover, the dependence of the daytime Hm on solar activity is not strong due to meridional wind and other factors. The above results over Hainan are considerably different from those reported over Millstone Hill, which is attributed to their different geomagnetic locations. The quantitative results compared between IRI-2012 model predictions and observations show that the predicted foF2 values are basically underestimated and the magnitude of their deviations obviously increases with increasing solar activity. The predicted hmF2 obtained with measured M(3000)F2 inputs in low and moderate solar activity agree well with the observed ones. However, their deviations in high solar activity are significantly magnified.

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