Observations of diverging field-aligned ion flow with the ESR
- 1Solar Terrestrial Environment Laboratory, Nagoya University, Nagoya, Japan
- 2EISCAT Scientific Association, Headquarters, Kiruna, Sweden
- 3Now at Swedish Institute of Space Physics, Uppsala, Sweden
Abstract. We report on observations of a diverging ion flow along the geomagnetic field that is often seen at the EISCAT Svalbard radar. The flow is upward above the peak of the electron density in the F-region and downward below the peak. We estimate that in such events mass transport along the field line is important for the ionization balance, and that the shape of the F-layer and its ion composition should be strongly influenced by it. Diverging flow typically occurs when there are signatures of direct entry of sheath plasma to the ionosphere in the form of intense soft particle precipitation, and we suggest that it is caused by the ionization and ionospheric electron heating associated with this precipitation. On average, 30% of all events with ion upflow also show significant ion downflow below.
Key words.Ionosphere (polar ionosphere; ionization mechanism; plasma temperature and density)