Articles | Volume 17, issue 9
30 Sep 1999
30 Sep 1999

Parametric decay of beam-driven Langmuir wave and enhanced ion-acoustic fluctuations in the ionosphere: a weak turbulence approach

F. R. E. Forme

Abstract. We present a model that describes the decay of beam generated Langmuir waves into ion-acoustic waves in the topside ionosphere. This calculation is done within the frame of the weak turbulence approximation. We study the spectral signature of such a process as seen by a VHF incoherent scatter radar. An incoherent scatter (IS) spectrum is characterized by two maxima at kradar and -kradar, the right and left ion lines respectively. It is shown that, for reasonable beam parameters, the parametric decay of beam-generated Langmuir waves can enhance either the right, the left or both ion lines simultaneously. The shape of the spectrum can change drastically on time scale of about 0.1 to 1 s. The role of the beam parameter as well as the ionospheric parameters is also investigated. For a given beam number density, the beam energy or the background density are important to trigger either the left or the right ion line. A large energy spread of the beam or low electron collision frequencies can explain the simultaneous observations of the left and the right ion line. The importance of the electron collision frequency can explain the altitude distribution of the coherent echoes observed by incoherent scatter radars.

Key words. Ionosphere (plasma waves and instabilities) · Space plasma physics (waves and instabilities; wave-wave interactions)