Characteristics of Large-Scale Wave Structure Observed from African and Southeast Asian Longitudinal Sectors


Ram, S. T., Yamamoto, M., Tsunoda, R. T., Chau, H. D., Hoang, T. L., Damtie, B., . . . Tsugawa, T. (2014). Characteristics of large-scale wave structure observed from African and Southeast Asian longitudinal sectors. Journal of Geophysical Research-Space Physics, 119(3), 2288-2297.


The spatial large-scale wave structure (LSWS) at the base of F layer is the earliest manifestation of seed perturbation for Rayleigh-Taylor instability, hence, found to play a deterministic role in the development of Equatorial Plasma Bubbles (EPBs). Except for a few case studies, a comprehensive investigation has not been conducted on the characteristics of LSWS because of the complexity involved in detecting the LSWS, particularly, in spatial domain. In this scenario, a comprehensive study is carried out, for the first time, on the spatial and temporal characteristics of LSWS observed in spatial domain over African and Southeast Asian longitudinal sectors during the year 2011. The observations indicate that these wave structures can be detected a few degrees west of E region sunset terminator and found to grow significantly at longitudes past the sunset terminator. The phase fronts of these spatial structures are found to align with the geomagnetic field ( [inline image] ) lines over a latitudinal belt for at least 5−6° (~500–600 km) centered on dip equator. The zonal wavelengths of these structures are found to vary from 100 to 700 km, which is consistent with the earlier reports, and the EPBs were consistently observed when the amplitudes of LSWS were grown to sufficient strengths. These results would provide better insights on the underlying physical processes involved in excitation of LSWS in terms of important roles being played by E region electrical loading and polarization electric fields induced via spatially varying dynamo current due to neutral wind perturbations associated with atmospheric gravity waves.

Key Points

  • Observations of LSWS in spatial domain and its characteristics
  • Physical neutral ion coupling process behind the excitation of LSWS
  • Seeding of R-T instability and equatorial plasma bubbles by LSWS

Read more from SRI