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Annales Geophysicae An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Volume 24, issue 5
Ann. Geophys., 24, 1367–1374, 2006
https://doi.org/10.5194/angeo-24-1367-2006
© Author(s) 2006. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

Special issue: The 11th International Symposium on Equatorial Aeronomy (ISEA-11),...

Ann. Geophys., 24, 1367–1374, 2006
https://doi.org/10.5194/angeo-24-1367-2006
© Author(s) 2006. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

  03 Jul 2006

03 Jul 2006

Local ionospheric electrodynamics associated with neutral wind fields at low latitudes: Kelvin-Helmholtz billows

J. P. St.-Maurice and R. K. Choudhary J. P. St.-Maurice and R. K. Choudhary
  • Institute of Space and Atmospheric Studies, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, Canada

Abstract. 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.

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