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Discussion papers | Copyright
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Regular paper 13 Feb 2018

Regular paper | 13 Feb 2018

Review status
This discussion paper is a preprint. It is a manuscript under review for the journal Annales Geophysicae (ANGEO).

On the convection of ionospheric density features

John D. de Boer1, Jean-Marc A. Noël1, and Jean-Pierre St.-Maurice2 John D. de Boer et al.
  • 1Royal Military College, P.O. Box 17000, Kingston, ON, Canada
  • 2Institute of Space and Atmospheric Studies, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, SK, Canada

Abstract. We investigate whether the boundaries of an ionospheric region of different density than its surroundings will drift relative to the background E×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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