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The effect of F10.7 on interhemispheric differences in ionospheric current during solstices

First Published : February 11, 2022

Written by Tre'shunda James, Ramon E. Lopez

DOI : 10.1016/j.asr.2022.02.006

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We investigate the differences in the electrojet and Birkeland current systems during summer and winter solstice and the effect of F10.7. The difference in solar illumination of the polar ionosphere during the winter versus summer solstice results in significantly higher conductivity in the summer polar ionosphere. As expected, the currents are larger during the summer than during the winter. The relationship between the electrojets and the Birkeland current systems is essentially constant across seasons, as expected if the ionospheric electrojets close the Birkeland currents. The magnitude of F10.7 is an indicator of the level of solar-generated ionospheric conductance, therefore, one would expect larger ionospheric currents during periods of larger F10.7. This holds true for the summer solstice periods, however, the opposite trend is observed during the winter solstice periods. We provide an explanation for this finding based on the control of the dayside merging rate by the magnetosheath flow pattern.

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