Equatorial ionospheric response to the 10.7 cm radio flux over two sunspot cycles (1969−1991)
It is evident that fluctuations in a standard ionospheric parameter, the minimum (virtual) height ( h´F) of the equatorial F-region in the African (Ouagadougou), Asian (Manila) and American (Huancayo) longitudinal sectors, closely resemble changes in solar activity as deduced from the 10.7 cm solar flux index ( S), over two solar cycles (1969–91). The monthly median hourly value of h´F, particularly in the post-sunset period (18–20 LT), are positively correlated with the monthly average S. The value of h´F can be deduced from an empirical formula: h´F=0.68 S+218.3, with the correlation coefficient ( r) between h´F and S being 0.78. The diurnal distribution of r during daytime (06–14 LT) was radically different for the African and Asian longitudinal sectors during 1980-1991, with the most pronounced difference in the post-noon period (12–14 LT) when the correlation coefficients r for the Asian and African sectors are 0.8 and 0.2, respectively. Thus, the daytime F-region in the African sector responded far less to changes in solar activity than the Asian F-region during this cycle. This longitudinal anomaly was however absent in the preceding cycle (1969–1979) when the African and Asian sectors were both characterised by low daytime and pronounced post-sunset correlation coefficient r. The American sector appears to have a high correlation coefficient r in daytime increasing to a small maximum in the post-sunset interval. The post-sunset enhancement in r is a characteristic feature for equatorial stations only (corrected geomagnetic latitude <10 °).