Global empirical models of the density peak height and of the equivalent scale height for quiet conditions

D. Altadill, S. Magdaleno, J. M. Torta, E. Blanch

Research output: Indexed journal article Articlepeer-review

78 Citations (Scopus)


Monthly average electron density profiles have been calculated from hourly electron density N(h) recorded in 26 digisonde stations distributed worldwide encompassing the time interval 1998-2006. The ionospheric electron density peak height of the F2 region, hmF2, and the effective scale height at the hmF2, Hm, deduced from average profiles have been analyzed to obtain the quiet-time behavior and have been analytically modeled by the spherical harmonic analysis (SH) technique using the modip latitude as the coordinate of the reference system. The coefficients of the SH models of hmF2 and Hm are bounded to the solar activity, and the temporal and seasonal variations are considered by Fourier expansion of the coefficients. The SH models provide a tool to predict hmF2 and Hm located anywhere in the range of latitudes between of 70 N and 70 S and at any time. The SH analytical model for hmF2 improves the fit to the observations by 10% in average compared to the IRI prediction, and it might improve the IRI prediction of hmF2 by more than 30% at high and low latitudes. The analytical model for Hm predicts the quiet behavior of the effective scale height with accuracy better than 15% in average which enables to obtain a good estimation of vertical profiles. These results could be useful to estimate information for the topside profile formulation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1756-1769
Number of pages14
JournalAdvances in Space Research
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 15 Nov 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • Analytical formulation
  • Electron density peak height
  • Empirical ionospheric modeling
  • Equivalent scale height
  • International Reference Ionosphere


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