A new method to reconstruct the ionospheric convection patterns in the polar cap
Abstract. A new method to reconstruct the instantaneous convection pattern in the Earth's polar ionosphere is suggested. Plasma convection in the polar cap ionosphere is described as a hydrodynamic incompressible flow. This description is valid in the region where the electric currents are field aligned (and hence, the Lorentz body force vanishes). The problem becomes two-dimensional, and may be described by means of stream function. The flow pattern may be found as a solution of the boundary value problem for stream function. Boundary conditions should be provided by measurements of the electric field or plasma velocity vectors along the satellite orbits. It is shown that the convection pattern may be reconstructed with a reasonable accuracy by means of this method, by using only the minimum number of satellite crossings of the polar cap. The method enables us to obtain a reasonable estimate of the convection pattern without knowledge of the ionospheric conductivity.
Key words. Ionosphere (modelling and forecasting; plasma convection; polar ionosphere)