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Annales Geophysicae An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Volume 28, issue 2
Ann. Geophys., 28, 327–337, 2010
https://doi.org/10.5194/angeo-28-327-2010
© Author(s) 2010. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
Ann. Geophys., 28, 327–337, 2010
https://doi.org/10.5194/angeo-28-327-2010
© Author(s) 2010. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

  01 Feb 2010

01 Feb 2010

Density enhancements associated with equatorial spread F

J. Krall1, J. D. Huba1, G. Joyce2, and T. Yokoyama3 J. Krall et al.
  • 1Plasma Physics Division, Naval Research Laboratory, Code 6790, 4555 Overlook Ave., SW, Washington, D.C., 20375-5000, USA
  • 2Icarus Research, Inc., P.O. Box 30780, Bethesda, MD 20824-0780, USA
  • 3Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY, 14850, USA

Abstract. Forces governing the three-dimensional structure of equatorial spread-F (ESF) plumes are examined using the NRL SAMI3/ESF three-dimensional simulation code. As is the case with the equatorial ionization anomaly (IA), density crests within the plume occur where gravitational and diffusive forces are in balance. Large E×B drifts within the ESF plume place these crests on field lines with apex heights higher than those of the background IA crests. Large poleward field-aligned ion velocities within the plume result in large ion-neutral diffusive forces that support these ionization crests at altitudes higher than background IA crest altitudes. We show examples in which density enhancements associated with ESF, also called "plasma blobs," can occur within an ESF plume on density-crest field lines, at or above the density crests. Simulated ESF density enhancements reproduce all key features of those that have been observed in situ.

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