Effects of Electric Field and Neutral Wind on the Asymmetry of Equatorial Ionization Anomaly

Sovit M. Khadka, Cesar E. Valladares, Robert Sheehan, Andrew Gerrard

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42 Scopus citations


The zonal electric field and the meridional neutral wind are the principal drivers that define the geometry and characteristics of the equatorial ionization anomaly (EIA). Here we present the response of the EIA to the variability of the zonal electric field based on measurements of the equatorial electrojet (EEJ) currents and trans-equatorial neutral winds for the generation and control of the asymmetries of the EIA crests of total electron content (TEC) in the western side of the South American continent. The EEJ strengths are determined using a pair of magnetometers. The 24-hr trans-equatorial neutral wind profile is measured using the Second-Generation, Optimized, Fabry-Perot Doppler Imager (SOFDI) located near the geomagnetic equator. The EIA is evaluated using TEC data measured by Global Positioning System (GPS) receivers from the Low-Latitude Ionospheric Sensor Network and several other networks in South America. A physics-based numerical model, Low-Latitude Ionospheric Sector, and SOFDI data are used to study the effects of daytime meridional neutral winds on the consequent evolution of an asymmetry in equatorial TEC anomalies during the afternoon and onward for the first time. We find that the configuration parameters such as strength, shape, amplitude, and latitudinal width of the EIAs are affected by the eastward electric field associated with the EEJ under undisturbed conditions. The asymmetries of EIA crests are observed more frequently during solstices and the September equinox than in the March equinox season. Importantly, this study indicates that the meridional neutral wind plays a very significant role in the development of the EIA asymmetry by transporting the plasma up the field lines. This result suggests that a precise observation of the latitudinal TEC profile at low latitudes can be used to derive the meridional wind.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)683-697
Number of pages15
JournalRadio Science
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2018

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • General Earth and Planetary Sciences
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


  • asymmetry on EIAs crests
  • equatorial ionosphere
  • ionospheric and thermospheric dynamics
  • variability of trans-equatorial neutral wind and EEJ


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