Articles | Volume 25, issue 6
29 Jun 2007
 | 29 Jun 2007

Wavelength dependence of the linear growth rate of the Es layer instability

R. B. Cosgrove

Abstract. It has recently been shown, by computation of the linear growth rate, that midlatitude sporadic-E (Es) layers are subject to a large scale electrodynamic instability. This instability is a logical candidate to explain certain frontal structuring events, and polarization electric fields, which have been observed in Es layers by ionosondes, by coherent scatter radars, and by rockets. However, the original growth rate derivation assumed an infinitely thin Es layer, and therefore did not address the short wavelength cutoff. Also, the same derivation ignored the effects of F region loading, which is a significant wavelength dependent effect. Herein is given a generalized derivation that remedies both these short comings, and thereby allows a computation of the wavelength dependence of the linear growth rate, as well as computations of various threshold conditions. The wavelength dependence of the linear growth rate is compared with observed periodicities, and the role of the zeroth order meridional wind is explored. A three-dimensional paper model is used to explain the instability geometry, which has been defined formally in previous works.