Irregularities and Instabilities in the Auroral F Region

  • James F. Vickrey
  • Michael C. Kelley
Part of the Nobel Foundation Symposia Published by Plenum book series (NOFS, volume 54)


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.


Flux Tube Auroral Zone Neutral Wind Auroral Oval Plasma Structure 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1983

Authors and Affiliations

  • James F. Vickrey
    • 1
  • Michael C. Kelley
    • 2
  1. 1.Radio Physics LaboratorySRI InternationalMenlo ParkUSA
  2. 2.School of Electrical EngineeringCornell UniversityIthacaUSA

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