On the Gradient-Current Mechanism of Formation of the Irregular Structure of the High-Latitude Upper Ionosphere

Research paper by E. N. Myasnikov

Indexed on: 01 Jul '05Published on: 01 Jul '05Published in: Radiophysics and Quantum Electronics


We consider the gradient-current instability of an inhomogeneous magnetoactive plasma in the approximation of double-fluid magnetohydrodynamics. Unlike the known gradient-drift and current-convective instabilities, the gradient-current instability is related to generation of nonpotential quasistatic electric fields polarized orthogonal to the external magnetic field B0 and excited by eddy currents whose density vector lies in the plane passing through the vectors of the magnetic field B0 and large-scale electron-density gradient. It is shown that in the high-latitude upper ionosphere, in the regions containing large-scale currents flowing in and out of the ionosphere along the magnetic field, the gradient-current instability can lead to the appearance of sheet-like irregularities extended predominantly in the plane passing through the geomagnetic-field and regular plasma-drift velocity vectors.