Articles | Volume 26, issue 3
26 Mar 2008
 | 26 Mar 2008

Large-scale simulations of 2-D fully kinetic Farley-Buneman turbulence

M. M. Oppenheim, Y. Dimant, and L. P. Dyrud

Abstract. Currents flowing in the Earth's ionospheric electrojets often develop Farley-Buneman (FB) streaming instabilities and become turbulent. The resulting electron density irregularities cause these regions to readily scatter VHF and UHF radar signals. Many of the observed characteristics of these radar measurements result from the nonlinear behavior of this plasma. This paper describes a set of high-resolution, 2-D, fully kinetic simulations of electric field driven turbulence in the electrojet. These show the saturated amplitude of the waves; coupling between linearly growing modes and damped modes; the evolution of the system from dominance by shorter (1 m–5 m) to longer (10 m–200 m) wavelength modes; and the propagation of the dominant modes at phase velocities that lie below the linearly predicted phase velocity and close to but slightly above the acoustic velocity. These simulations reproduce many of the observational characteristics of type 1 waves. They provide information useful in accurately modeling FB turbulence and demonstrate the significant progress we have made in simulating the electrojet.