Statistical Study of Electron Density Enhancements in the Ionospheric F Region Associated With Pulsating Auroras

M. Fukizawa, T. Sakanoi, Y. Ogawa, T. T. Tsuda, K. Hosokawa

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3 Citations (Scopus)


Pulsating auroras (PsAs) are considered to be caused by energetic (>a few keV) electron precipitation. Additionally, soft electron precipitation (<a few keV) has often been observed in PsAs. This soft electron precipitation enhances the electron density in the ionospheric F region. However, to date, the relationship between PsAs and soft electron precipitation has not been well understood. In this study, using the data taken by the European incoherent scatter radar and the auroral all-sky imager at Tromsø, we conducted two case studies to investigate, in detail, the relationship between the electron density height profile and the type of aurora. Additionally, we conducted statistical studies for 14 events to elucidate how often F region electron density enhancement occurs with a PsA. We consequently found that 76% of electron density height profiles showed a local peak in the F region, with electron temperature enhancements. It was also found that 89% of the F region peak altitudes were above the peak altitude of the ionization rate produced by electrons of characteristic energy below 100 eV. The occurrence rate of these profiles in the hourly magnetic local time (MLT) exceeded 80% in the 22–3 MLT sectors. We suggest that the electron density enhancement in the F region would have been caused by electrostatic electron cyclotron harmonic waves in the magnetosphere. Another candidate would have been polar patches that had traveled from the dayside ionosphere.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere2021JA029601
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 2021 Dec


  • electron cyclotron harmonic wave
  • ionospheric F region
  • pulsating aurora
  • upper band chorus wave


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