Generation of a severe convective ionospheric storm under stable Rayleigh–Taylor conditions: triggering by meteors?
Abstract. Here we report on four events detected using the Jicamarca Radio Observatory (JRO) over an 18-year period, in which huge convective ionospheric storms (CISs) occur in a stable ionosphere. We argue that these rare events could be initiated by meteor-induced electric fields. The meteor-induced electric fields map to the bottomside of the F region, causing radar echoes and a localized CIS. If and when a localized disturbance reaches 500 km, we argue that it becomes two-dimensionally turbulent and cascades structure to both large and small scales. This leads to long-lasting structure and, almost certainly, to scintillations over a huge range of latitudes some ±15° wide and to 3 m irregularities, which backscatter the VHF radar waves. These structures located at high altitudes are supported by vortices shed by the upwelling bubble in a vortex street.