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Dynamics of density cavities generated by frictional heating: Formation, distortion, and instability
KTH, School of Electrical Engineering (EES), Space and Plasma Physics. Space Environment Physics, University of Southampton, Southampton, United Kingdom.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-5596-346X
2015 (English)In: Geophysical Research Letters, ISSN 0094-8276, E-ISSN 1944-8007, Vol. 42, no 23, 10120-10125 p.Article in journal (Refereed) PublishedText
Abstract [en]

A simulation study of the generation and evolution of mesoscale density cavities in the polar ionosphere is conducted using a time-dependent, nonlinear, quasi-electrostatic model. The model demonstrates that density cavities, generated by frictional heating, can form in as little as 90 s due to strong electric fields of ∼120 mV/m, which are sometimes observed near auroral zone and polar cap arcs. Asymmetric density cavity features and strong plasma density gradients perpendicular to the geomagnetic field are naturally generated as a consequence of the strong convection and finite extent of the auroral feature. The walls of the auroral density cavities are shown to be susceptible to large-scale distortion and gradient-drift instability, hence indicating that arc-related regions of frictional heating may be a source of polar ionospheric density irregularities.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Blackwell Publishing, 2015. Vol. 42, no 23, 10120-10125 p.
Keyword [en]
density cavities, high latitude, instabilities, ionosphere
National Category
Fusion, Plasma and Space Physics
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-181820DOI: 10.1002/2015GL066806ISI: 000368343900004ScopusID: 2-s2.0-84953635236OAI: oai:DiVA.org:kth-181820DiVA: diva2:902078
Note

QC 20160210. QC 20160216

Available from: 2016-02-10 Created: 2016-02-05 Last updated: 2016-02-16Bibliographically approved

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