Wavelength Dependence of the Es Layer Instability, and of Coupling to the F Layer, in the Nonlinear Regime


Cosgrove, R. B.: Wavelength dependence of the Es layer instability, and of coupling to the F layer, in the nonlinear regime, Ann. Geophys., 26, 3933–3943, https://doi.org/10.5194/angeo-26-3933-2008, 2008.


The Es layer instability has been suggested as a participant in the creation of frontal structures observed in both the Es and F layers of the nighttime midlatitude ionosphere, in spite of the fact that the spatial scales of the frontal structures are very different in the two layers. The linear growth rate of the instability has a maxima in the vicinity of the wavelength observed for the Es layer structures (short wavelengths). However, the maxima is non-distinct, and simulations have shown that the instability is extremely nonlinear. Therefore, to understand the wavelength dependence of the Es layer instability it is necessary to factor in nonlinear behavior. Simulations have shown that the instability is active at the wavelengths observed in the F layer, and revealed that the Es layer behavior at these long wavelengths is so nonlinear that the common, highly localized Es layer observation techniques would likely miss the signature, which is highly visible in the F layer. However, there is currently no explanation for why long wavelengths so clearly dominate short (or intermediate) wavelengths in the F layer observations, and this is a weakness in arguments that the Es layer instability participates in the creation of F-region frontal structures. Herein we remove this weakness by showing that longer wavelengths grow to larger amplitudes before eventual nonlinear saturation, and couple more effectively to the F-region.

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