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Empirical models of storm-time equatorial zonal electric fields
Journal of Geophysical Research (1997)
  • Bela G. Fejer, Utah State University
  • L. Scherliess
Ionospheric plasma drifts often show highly complex and variable signatures during geomagnetically active periods due to the effects of different disturbance processes. We describe initially a methodology for the study of storm time dependent ionospheric electric fields. We present empirical models of equatorial disturbance zonal electric fields obtained using extensive F region vertical plasma drift measurements from the Jicamarca Observatory and auroral electrojet indices. These models determine the plasma drift perturbations due to the combined effects of short-lived prompt penetration and longer lasting disturbance dynamo electric fields. We show that the prompt penetration drifts obtained from a high time resolution empirical model are in excellent agreement with results from the Rice Convection Model for comparable changes in the polar cap potential drop. We also present several case studies comparing observations with results obtained by adding model disturbance drifts and season and solar cycle dependent average quiet time drift patterns. When the disturbance drifts are largely due to changes in magnetospheric convection and to disturbance dynamo effects, the measured and modeled drift velocities are generally in good agreement. However, our results indicate that the equatorial disturbance electric field pattern can be strongly affected by variations in the shielding efficiency, and in the high-latitude potential and energy deposition patterns which are not accounted for in the model. These case studies and earlier results also suggest the possible importance of additional sources of plasmaspheric disturbance electric fields.
  • Empirical,
  • model,
  • storm time,
  • equator,
  • zonal,
  • electric,
  • fields
Publication Date
November, 1997
Publisher Statement
Copyright 1997 by the American Geophysical Union. DOI: 10.1029/97JA02164
Citation Information
Fejer, B. G., and L. Scherliess, Empirical models of storm-time equatorial zonal electric fields, J. Geophys. Res., 102, 24047, 1997.