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After a historical introduction on the first well-documented observations of ionospheric phenomena and a review of the current, state-of-the art polar ionospheric studies, a climatological morphology of the irregular F-region plasma structures at high and polar latitudes is being presented, following a feature-aided pattern recognition method. Using the available in three solar cycles hourly foF2 data from 18 ionosonde stations, an ionospheric definition of disturbed conditions, independent of any causative mechanism, is being applied and positive/negative disturbances of duration smaller than 24 hours are sorted out. No latitudinal/longitudinal bins or seasons are defined and disturbances in each month and station are handled separately while four local time intervals of storm commencement are considered, according to solar zenith angle. A median profile per disturbance is produced only when a minimum occurrence probability is satisfied. Non-systematic features are excluded from this analysis by careful selection of the time window under morphological investigation. First, the median profiles of disturbance patterns are fitted to standard distributions and then, if they fail, they are grouped according to their major characteristic features and are described by a dynamic variation envelope along with their distribution in space and time. The present model, while being a non-conditional stand-alone model of ionospheric storms at high and polar latitudes offered to radio users, may complement existing empirical models. Finally, the present model may ultimately reveal cause-effect relationships with geomagnetic field or interplanetary parameters after further correlation studies undertaken in the future.
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