Submitting Campus

Daytona Beach

Department

Department of Physical Sciences

Document Type

Article

Publication/Presentation Date

12-16-2015

Abstract/Description

A simulation study of the generation and evolution of mesoscale density cavities in the polar ionosphere is conducted using a time-dependent, nonlinear, quasi-electrostatic model. The model demonstrates that density cavities, generated by frictional heating, can form in as little as 90 s due to strong electric fields of ∼120 mV/m, which are sometimes observed near auroral zone and polar cap arcs. Asymmetric density cavity features and strong plasma density gradients perpendicular to the geomagnetic field are naturally generated as a consequence of the strong convection and finite extent of the auroral feature. The walls of the auroral density cavities are shown to be susceptible to large-scale distortion and gradient-drift instability, hence indicating that arc-related regions of frictional heating may be a source of polar ionospheric density irregularities.

Publication Title

Geophysical Research Letters

DOI

https://doi.org/10.1002/2015GL066806

Publisher

American Geophysical Union

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