Transient production of F-region irregularities associated with TCV passage
- 1Department of Geophysics, Tohoku University, 980-8578, Japan
- 2Department of Geophysics, Kyoto University, 606-8502, Japan
- 3National Institute of Polar Research, 173-8515, Japan
- 4Space Sciences Laboratory, University of California, Berkeley, CA 94720-7450, USA
Abstract. Transient production of F-region plasma irregularities due to traveling convection vortices (TCVs) was investigated using the Super Dual Auroral Radar Network (SuperDARN) combined with ground magnetometer networks and the POLAR ultraviolet imager. We selected two large-amplitude (100–200 nT) TCV events that occurred on 22 May 1996 and 24 July 1996. It is found that the TCV-associated HF backscatter arises in blobs with spatial scale of a few hundreds km. They traveled following tailward bulk motion of the TCV across the three fields-of-view of the SuperDARN HF radars in the prenoon sector. The spectra in the blobs showed unidirectional Doppler velocities of typically 400–600 m/s, with flow directions away from the radar. These unidirectional velocities correspond to the poleward and/or eastward convective flow near the leading edge of upward field-aligned current. The backscatter blobs overlapped the poleward and westward part of the TCV-related transient aurora. It is likely that the transient backscatter blobs are produced by the three-dimensional gradient drift instabilities in the three-dimensional current system of the TCV. In this case, nonlinear rapid evolution of irregularities would occur in the upward field-aligned current region. The spectral width of the backscatter blob is typically distributed between 50 and 300 m/s, but sometimes it is over 400 m/s. This suggests that the temporal broad spectra over 400 m/s are produced by Pc1–2 bursts, while the background spectral width of 50–300 m/s are produced by the velocity gradient structure of convection vortices themselves.
Key words. Ionosphere (Electric fields and currents; Ionospheric irregularities; Plasma convection)