On the convection of ionospheric density features

de Boer, John D.; Noël, Jean-Marc A.; St.-Maurice, Jean-Pierre

We investigate whether the boundaries of an ionospheric region of different density than its surroundings will drift relative to the background inline-formulaE×B drift and, if so, how the drift depends on the degree of density enhancement and the altitude. We find analytic solutions for discrete circular features in a 2-D magnetised plasma. The relative drift is proportional to the density difference, which suggests that where density gradients occur they should tend to steepen on one side of a patch while they are weakened on the other. This may have relevance to the morphology of polar ionospheric patches and auroral arcs, since the result is scale-invariant. There is also an altitude dependence which enters through the ion-neutral collision frequency. We discuss how the 2-D analytic result can be applied to the real ionosphere.

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de Boer, John D. / Noël, Jean-Marc A. / St.-Maurice, Jean-Pierre: On the convection of ionospheric density features. 2019. Copernicus Publications.

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