Irregularities and Instabilities in the Auroral F Region
The Earth’s F-region ionospheric plasma displays structure perpendicular to the magnetic field on scales from hundreds of kilometers down to centimeters. The physical processes that operate over such a wide range of scale sizes are, of course, very diverse. At the largest scales (λ ≥ 10 km), production, loss, and transport of structured plasma are dominated by aeronomic processes including energy sources of magnetospheric origin. At intermediate (0.1 km < < < 10 km) and small (λ < 100 m) scales, plasma instabilities and cross-field plasma diffusion are often the dominant physical processes controlling the plasma structure. However, because nonlinear plasma processes can couple structures in one scale length regime to other spatial frequencies, the entire spectrum of irregularities must be studied as a whole.
KeywordsFlux Tube Auroral Zone Neutral Wind Auroral Oval Plasma Structure
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