Solar terminator effects on middle to low‐latitude Pi2 pulsations

  1. Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences, Kyushu University, 744 Motooka, Nishi‐ku, Fukuoka 819‐0395, Japan.
  2. International Center for Space Weather Science and Education, Kyushu University, Motooka, Nishi‐Ku, Fukuoka 819‐0395, Japan.
  3. The Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory, 11100 Johns Hopkins Rd., Laurel, MD 20723, USA.
  4. Applied Electromagnetic Research Institute, National Institute of Information and Commu- nications Technology, 4‐2‐1 Nukui‐Kitamachi, Koganei, Tokyo 184‐8795, Japan.
  5. Institute of Astronomy and Geophysics, Mongolian Academy of Sciences, Page 15 of 16 Maakhuur Tolgoi, BZD, Lkhagvasuren Street‐42, Ulaanbaatar 13343, Mongolia.
  6. Institute of Cosmophysical Researches and Radio Wave Propagation, 7 Mir- naya St., v. Paratunka, Elizovskiy Region, Kamchatka, Russia 684034.

To clarify the effect of the dawn and dusk terminators on Pi2 pulsations, we statistically analyzed the longitudinal phase and amplitude structures of Pi2 pulsations at middle-to low-latitude stations (GMLat = 5.30°–46.18°) around both the dawn and dusk terminators. Although the H (north–south) component Pi2s were affected by neither the local time (LT) nor the terminator location (at 100 km altitude in the highly conducting E region), some features of the D (east–west) component Pi2s depended on the location of the terminator rather than the LT. The phase reversal of the D component occurred 0.5–1 h after sunrise and 1–2 h before sunset. These phase reversals can be attributed to a change in the contributing currents from field-aligned currents (FACs) on the nightside to the meridional ionospheric currents on the sunlit side of the terminator, and vice versa. The phase reversal of the dawn terminator was more frequent than that of the dusk terminator. The D-to-H amplitude ratio on the dawn side began to increase at sunrise, reaching a peak approximately 2 h after sunrise (the sunward side of the phase reversal region), whereas the ratio on the dusk side reached a peak at sunset (the antisunward side). The dawn–dusk asymmetric features suggest that the magnetic contribution of the nightside FAC relative to the meridional ionospheric current on the dusk side is stronger than that on the dawn side, indicating that the center of Pi2-associated FACs, which probably corresponds to the Pi2 energy source, tends to be shifted duskward on average. Different features and weak sunrise/sunset dependences at the middle-latitude station (Paratunka, GMLat = 46.18°) can be attributed to the larger annual variation in the sunrise/sunset time and a stronger magnetic effect because of closeness from FACs. The D-to-H amplitude ratio decreased with decreasing latitude, suggesting that the azimuthal magnetic field produced by the FACs in darkness and the meridional ionospheric current in sunlight also decreased with decreasing latitude.