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On the link between the topside ionospheric effective scale height and the plasma ambipolar diffusion, theory and preliminary results

Abstract : Over the years, an amount of models relying on effective parameters were implemented in the challenging issue of the topside ionosphere description. These models are based on different analytical functions, but all of them depend on a parameter called effective scale height, that is deduced from topside electron density measurements. As their names state, they are effective in reproducing the topside electron density profile only when applied to the analytical function used to derive them. Then, in principle, they do not have any physical meaning. It is the goal of this paper to mathematically link the effective scale height modeled through the Epstein layer to the vertical scale height theoretically deduced from the plasma ambipolar diffusion theory. Firstly, effective and theoretical scale heights are linked through a mathematical relation by showing that they tend to each other in the topside ionosphere. Secondly, their connection is preliminarily demonstrated by calculating effective scale height values from the entire COSMIC/FORMOSAT-3 radio occultation dataset. Thirdly, a possible connection between the vertical gradient of the topside scale height (as obtained by COSMIC/FORMOSAT-3 satellites) and the electron temperature (as obtained by ESA Swarm B satellite) is studied by highlighting corresponding similarities in the diurnal, seasonal, solar activity, and latitudinal variability.
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Submitted on : Tuesday, February 22, 2022 - 3:16:22 PM
Last modification on : Thursday, April 7, 2022 - 1:58:31 PM
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Alessio Pignalberi, Michael Pezzopane, Bruno Nava, Pierdavide Coïsson. On the link between the topside ionospheric effective scale height and the plasma ambipolar diffusion, theory and preliminary results. Scientific Reports, Nature Publishing Group, 2020, 10, p.1535-1581. ⟨10.1038/s41598-020-73886-4⟩. ⟨insu-03584467⟩

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