Local ionospheric electrodynamics associated with neutral wind fields at low latitudes: Kelvin-Helmholtz billows
The Gadanki radar observation of plasma irregularities bearing the signature of Kelvin-Helmholtz billows above 100 km altitude raises the question of the electrodynamical mechanism that would allow the structures to drift with the neutral wind. We show that for locally varying neutral wind fields with the right geometry at night, multiple Hall effects in the electron gas lead to a situation where ions, electrons, and neutrals move together along the component of the wind that changes most rapidly in space. The species must not move together along all directions, however. If this were the case the plasma would be stable and a radar would be unable to observe the wind field. We discuss the stability of the plasma itself for Es layers affected by the Kelvin-Helmholtz wind field and show that a variety of factors have to be taken into account beyond the study of the zeroth order mechanism.