Studies using all-sky imagers have revealed the presence of various ionospheric irregularities in the nighttime midlatitude F region. The most prevalent and well known of these are the medium-scale traveling ionospheric disturbances (MSTIDs) that usually occur when the geomagnetic activity is low and midlatitude spread F plumes that are often observed when the geomagnetic activity is high. The inverse and direct relations between geomagnetic activity and the occurrence rate of MSTIDs and midlatitude plumes, respectively, have been observed by several studies using different instruments; however, most of them focus on MSTIDs only and use only Kp to characterize geomagnetic activity. In order to understand the underlying causes of these two relations and to distinguish between MSTIDs and plumes, it is illuminating to better characterize the occurrence of MSTIDs and plumes using multiple magnetospheric state parameters. Here we statistically compare multiple geomagnetic driver and response parameters (such as Kp, AE, Dst, and solar wind parameters) with the occurrence rates of nighttime MSTIDs and plumes observed using an all-sky imager at Arecibo Observatory (AO) between 2003 and 2008. We also present seasonal and annual variations of MSTIDs and plumes at AO. The results not only allow us to better distinguish MSTIDs and plumes, but also to shed further light on the generation mechanism and electrodynamics of these two different phenomena occurring at nighttime in the midlatitude F region.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Space and Planetary Science