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Article

A New Ionospheric Index to Investigate Electron Temperature Small-Scale Variations in the Topside Ionosphere

1
Istituto Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologia, Via di Vigna Murata 605, 00143 Roma, Italy
2
INAF-Istituto di Astrofisica e Planetologia Spaziali, Via del Fosso del Cavaliere 100, 00133 Roma, Italy
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Essam Ghamry, Nurul Shazana Binti Abdul Hamid and Zheng Li
Universe 2021, 7(8), 290; https://doi.org/10.3390/universe7080290
Received: 26 June 2021 / Revised: 28 July 2021 / Accepted: 4 August 2021 / Published: 6 August 2021
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Space Weather)
The electron temperature (Te) behavior at small scales (both spatial and temporal) in the topside ionosphere is investigated through in situ observations collected by Langmuir Probes on-board the European Space Agency Swarm satellites from the beginning of 2014 to the end of 2020. Te observations are employed to calculate the Rate Of change of electron TEmperature Index (ROTEI), which represents the standard deviation of the Te time derivative calculated over a window of fixed width. As a consequence, ROTEI provides a description of the small-scale variations of Te along the Swarm satellites orbit. The extension of the dataset and the orbital configuration of the Swarm satellites allowed us to perform a statistical analysis of ROTEI to unveil its mean spatial, diurnal, seasonal, and solar activity variations. The main ROTEI statistical trends are presented and discussed in the light of the current knowledge of the phenomena affecting the distribution and dynamics of the ionospheric plasma, which play a key role in triggering Te small-scale variations. The appearance of unexpected high values of ROTEI at mid and low latitudes for specific magnetic local time sectors is revealed and discussed in association with the presence of Te spikes recorded by Swarm satellites under very specific conditions. View Full-Text
Keywords: ROTEI; electron temperature; topside ionosphere; ESA Swarm satellites; Langmuir Probes in situ data; small-scale variations ROTEI; electron temperature; topside ionosphere; ESA Swarm satellites; Langmuir Probes in situ data; small-scale variations
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MDPI and ACS Style

Pignalberi, A.; Coco, I.; Giannattasio, F.; Pezzopane, M.; De Michelis, P.; Consolini, G.; Tozzi, R. A New Ionospheric Index to Investigate Electron Temperature Small-Scale Variations in the Topside Ionosphere. Universe 2021, 7, 290. https://doi.org/10.3390/universe7080290

AMA Style

Pignalberi A, Coco I, Giannattasio F, Pezzopane M, De Michelis P, Consolini G, Tozzi R. A New Ionospheric Index to Investigate Electron Temperature Small-Scale Variations in the Topside Ionosphere. Universe. 2021; 7(8):290. https://doi.org/10.3390/universe7080290

Chicago/Turabian Style

Pignalberi, Alessio, Igino Coco, Fabio Giannattasio, Michael Pezzopane, Paola De Michelis, Giuseppe Consolini, and Roberta Tozzi. 2021. "A New Ionospheric Index to Investigate Electron Temperature Small-Scale Variations in the Topside Ionosphere" Universe 7, no. 8: 290. https://doi.org/10.3390/universe7080290

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