TERRAPUB Earth, Planets and Space

Earth Planets Space, Vol. 64 (No. 6), pp. 493-503, 2012

An analysis of the scale height at the F2-layer peak over three middle-latitude stations in the European sector

M. Mosert1, D. Buresova2, S. Magdaleno3, B. de la Morena3, D. Altadill4, R. G. Ezquer5,6,7, and L. Scida6

1ICATE-CONICET, Avda. España 1512 Sur, CC 49, 5400 San Juan, Argentina
2Institute of Atmospheric Physics, Bocni II, 1401, Prague, Czech Republic
3INTA, Ctra. San Juan del Puerto-Matalascañas Km. 33, 21130, Huelva, España
4Observatori de l'Ebre, CSIC - Universitat Ramon Llull, Horta Alta 38, 43520 Roquetes, Spain
5CIASuR, Facultad Regional Tucumán, Universidad Tecnológica Nacional, Argentina
6Laboratorio de Ionósfera, Dpto. de Física, FACET, Universidad Nacional de Tucumán, Av. Independencia 1800, CP 4000, Tucumán, Argentina
7Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Tecnológicas (CONICET), Argentina

(Received June 11, 2010; Revised April 2, 2011; Accepted April 11, 2011; Online published July 27, 2012)

Abstract: This paper presents the results of an analysis of the variations of the scale height at the F2-layer peak ( Hm) under different seasonal and solar-activity conditions. The database includes hourly Hm values derived from ionograms recorded at three middle-latitude stations in the European sector: El Arenosillo (37.1°N; 353.3°E), Ebro (40.8°N, 0.5°; E) and Pruhonice (50.0°N; 15.0°E). The results show that, in general: (1) Hm exhibits diurnal variation with higher values during daytime than during night-time and secondary peaks around sunrise and sunset; (2) during winter time the scale height is lower than in summer time; (3) the scale heights increase with increasing solar activity; (4) Hm decreases when the latitude increases; (5) Hm shows a low correlation with the F2-region peak parameters NmF2 and hmF2 and a high correlation with the thickness parameter B0 and the equivalent slab thickness EST; (6) the day-to-day variability is greater at low solar activity than at high solar activity--it reaches maximum values around sunrise or sunset and it is lower around midnight than around noon at low solar activity. The results of this study are similar to those reported by other authors and can be useful for estimating the topside ionosphere from bottomside measurements and modelling.
Key words: Middle-latitude ionosphere, bottom density profile, α-Chapman scale height.

Corresponding author E-mail: mmosert@icate-conicet.gob.ar

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