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Annales Geophysicae An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Volume 28, issue 3
Ann. Geophys., 28, 719–736, 2010
https://doi.org/10.5194/angeo-28-719-2010
© Author(s) 2010. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
Ann. Geophys., 28, 719–736, 2010
https://doi.org/10.5194/angeo-28-719-2010
© Author(s) 2010. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

  11 Mar 2010

11 Mar 2010

Interaction of plasma cloud with external electric field in lower ionosphere

Y. S. Dimant and M. M. Oppenheim Y. S. Dimant and M. M. Oppenheim
  • Boston University, Boston, MA, USA

Abstract. In the auroral lower-E and upper-D region of the ionosphere, plasma clouds, such as sporadic-E layers and meteor plasma trails, occur daily. Large-scale electric fields, created by the magnetospheric dynamo, will polarize these highly conducting clouds, redistributing the electrostatic potential and generating anisotropic currents both within and around the cloud. Using a simplified model of the cloud and the background ionosphere, we develop the first self-consistent three-dimensional analytical theory of these phenomena. For dense clouds, this theory predicts highly amplified electric fields around the cloud, along with strong currents collected from the ionosphere and circulated through the cloud. This has implications for the generation of plasma instabilities, electron heating, and global MHD modeling of magnetosphere-ionosphere coupling via modifications of conductances induced by sporadic-E clouds.

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