** Progress in Earth and Planetary Science is the official journal of the Japan Geoscience Union, published in collaboration with its 51 society members.

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    Space and planetary sciences

    Dynamic spectral characteristics of high-resolution simulated equatorial plasma bubbles

    Charles Rino, Tatsuhiro Yokoyama, Charles Carrano

    Equatorial spread F, Power-law ionospheric structure, Convective plasma instability, Structure characterization

    Manifestations of severe nighttime equatorial ionospheric disturbances have been observed for decades. It is generally accepted that the phenomena are caused by large depletions, referred to as equatorial plasma bubbles (EPBs), which are initiated on the rising unstable bottom side of the nighttime F layer. Physics-based simulations have enhanced our understanding of the EPB phenomenon. However, until very recently, stochastic structure smaller than ∼ 10 km was not well resolved. Recent high-resolution EPB simulations have extended the resolution to hundreds of meters, which provides a unique opportunity to characterize intermediate-scale EPB structure.This paper presents a summary analysis of simulated high-resolution intermediate-scale EPB structure. Estimation of altitude-dependent power law spectral density function parameters provides an altitude versus time history of the intermediate-scale structure development. Local structure onset is associated with successive bifurcation of rising EPBs. Developed structure characterized by a two-component power law spectral density function ultimately subtends several hundred kilometers in altitude.Two-component inverse power-law structure was first observed in early in situ rocket measurements. It has been observed in diagnostic measurements of beacon-satellite and GPS scintillation data as well as in situ measurements from Atmospheric Explorer and C/NOFS satellites. The EPB simulation data fully support the reported EPB diagnostics as well as a correlation between the turbulent strength and the large-scale spectral index parameter estimates. However, recent analyses have shown that the correlation is an intrinsic property of power-law parameter estimation.