Articles | Volume 34, issue 2
Regular paper
03 Feb 2016
Regular paper |  | 03 Feb 2016

Generation of a severe convective ionospheric storm under stable Rayleigh–Taylor conditions: triggering by meteors?

M. C. Kelley and R. R. Ilma

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.

Short summary
This manuscript presents a novel and interesting hypothesis about the seeding of equatorial spread F irregularities by meteors. Based on radar experiments, the study postulates that the triggering of these irregularities occurs even under very stable ionospheric conditions. The article demonstrates significant work on the relationship between meteors and F region irregularities at equatorial latitudes. The novel mechanism can encourage the ionospheric community to test this hypothesis.