On Equatorial Spread F: Establishing a Seeding Hypothesis


Tsunoda, R. T. (2010). On equatorial spread F: Establishing a seeding hypothesis. Journal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics, 115(A12).


A comprehensive explanation for the complex climatology of the so-called equatorial spread F (ESF) has eluded researchers for more than 70 years. Recently, however, a seeding hypothesis has been proposed, which appears to provide the final major piece of this puzzle. The hypothesis is based on the discovery that a direct link exists between regions of deep convective activity in the troposphere, where atmospheric gravity waves (GWs) are spawned, and the occurrence frequency of ESF during solstices. The objective here is to answer two questions that may impede the general acceptance of this hypothesis. We first show why seed plasma perturbations should develop from GW-driven neutral-wind perturbations, but only when the GW source region is located very close to the magnetic dip equator. We then reexamine this relationship using a data set on GW source regions that is better matched (in time and longitudinal coverage), than that used previously, to the data set on ESF activity used by Tsunoda (2010a). We conclude that seeding is indeed playing an important role in the development of ESF.

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