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Space and planetary sciences
Upwelling: A Unit of Disturbance in Equatorial Spread F
Tsunoda R T
Equatorial spread F, F-region plasma structure, Equatorial ionosphere, Equatorial plasma bubbles, Deep convective activity in troposphere, Atmospheric gravity waves, Neutral-ion coupling, Swoopers, Transequatorial propagation, Interchange instability
Working hypothesis for the temporal evolution of upwellings and EPBs, from late afternoon to the post-midnight sector.
Plasma structure in the nighttime equatorial F layer, often referred to as equatorial spread F (ESF), is not uniformly distributed, either in time or in space. Observations indicate that ESF in the bottomside F layer takes the form of patches; plasma structure within the F layer takes the form of localized plasma depletions, called equatorial plasma bubbles (EPBs), which tend to occur in clusters. Another observed feature is an upwelling, which has been described as a localized, upward modulation of isodensity contours in the bottomside F layer. Interestingly, zonal widths of ESF patches, EPB clusters, and upwellings are similar. Moreover, all display an east-west asymmetry. The objective of this paper is to show, for the first time, that an ESF patch is the bottomside counterpart of an EPB cluster, and that both are products of the electrodynamical process that takes place within an upwelling. The process can be described as having three phases: (1) amplification of upwelling amplitude during the post-sunset rise of the F layer, (2) launching of the first EPB of the evening, from crest of the upwelling, and (3) structuring of plasma within the upwelling. Hence, an upwelling, whose presence is responsible for the formation of ESF patches and EPB clusters, can be envisioned as a unit of disturbance that occurs in the nighttime equatorial ionosphere.