Multifractal analysis of vertical total electron content (VTEC) at equatorial region and low latitude, during low solar activity
This paper analyses the multifractal aspects of the GPS data (measured during a period of low solar activity) obtained from two Brazilian stations: Belém (01.3° S, 48.3° W) and São José dos Campos (SJC) (23.2° S, 45.9° W). The results show that the respective geographic sites show important scaling differences as well as similarities when their multifractal signatures for vertical total electron content (VTEC) are compared. The f(α) spectra have a narrow shape for great scales, which indicates the predominance of deterministic phenomena, such as solar rotation (27 days) over intermittent phenomena. Furthermore, the f(α) spectra for both sites have a strong multifractality degree at small scales. This strong multifractality degree observed at small scales (1 to 12 h) at both sites is because the ionosphere over Brazil is a non-equilibrium system. The differences found were that Belém presented a stronger multifractality at small scales (1 h to 12 h) compared with SJC, particularly in 2006. The reason for this behaviour may be associated with the location of Belém, near the geomagnetic equator, where at this location the actions of X-rays, ultraviolet, and another wavelength from the Sun are more direct, strong, and constant throughout the whole year. Although the SJC site is near ionospheric equatorial anomaly (IEA) peaks, this interpretation could explain the higher values found for the intermittent parameter μ for Belém compared with SJC. Belém also showed the presence of one or two flattening regions for f(α) spectra at the same scales mentioned before. These differences and similarities also were interpreted in terms of the IEA content, where this phenomenon is an important source of intermittence due the presence of the VTEC peaks at ±20° geomagnetic latitudes.