In this study, the characteristics of the total electron content (TEC) fluctuations and their regional differences over China were analyzed by utilizing the rate of the TEC index (ROTI) based on GPS data from 21 reference stations across China during a solar cycle. The results show that there were significant regional differences at different latitudes. Strong ionospheric TEC fluctuations were usually observed at lower latitudes in southern China, where the occurrence of TEC fluctuations demonstrated typical nighttime- and season-dependent (equinox months) features. This phenomenon was consistent with the ionospheric scintillation characteristics of this region. Additionally, compared to low-latitude China, the intensity of TEC fluctuations over mid-latitude China was significantly weaker, and the occurrence of TEC fluctuations was not a nighttime-dependent phenomenon. Moreover, the intensity of TEC fluctuations was much stronger during high solar activity than during low solar activity. Furthermore, the summer-dependent characteristics of TEC fluctuations gradually emerged over lower mid-latitude areas as equinox characteristics weakened. Similar to the equinox characteristics, the summer-dependent characteristics gradually weakened or even disappeared with the increasing latitude. Relevant discussions of this phenomenon are still relatively rare, and it requires further study and analysis.
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