To study the characteristic of plasma bubbles in the topside ionosphere during the solar minima, we have analyzed a large database of post-sunset plasma density measurement acquired during ∼5104 equatorial crossings made by Defense Meteorological Satellite Program (DMSP) F14 in 2005. On 675 of these crossings, equatorial plasma bubbles (EPBs) events were observed as intervals of depleted and irregular plasma densities that degrade communication and navigation signals. We have analyzed these EPB events to study their distributions with month, season and longitude. To test for possible dependence of EPB occurrence at topside altitudes on the level of magnetic activity, we compared the distributions of one year database with those of Kp index at the time of equatorial crossings by the DMSP satellites. We also examined the response of the evening sector, low-latitude ionosphere during eight magnetic storms with minimum Dst ≤ −100nT. We observed that EPBs occurred regularly during geomagnetic storms, especially in the initial and main phases but can be suppressed sometimes for days, after prolonged activity during recovery phases. These results are discussed according to the other reported results.
Volume 128 | Issue 8
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