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Vertical ion flow in the polar ionosphere

Yau, A. W. and Lockwood, M. (1988) Vertical ion flow in the polar ionosphere. In: Moore , T. E. , Waite, J. H. , Moorehead , T. W. and Hanson, W. B. (eds.) Modeling Magnetospheric Plasma. AGU Monograph, 44 (44). American Geophysical Union, Washington, D. C., U.S.A., pp. 229-240. ISBN Print: 9780875900704. On Line: 9781118664414

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To link to this article DOI: 10.1029/GM044p0229


Outflowing ions from the polar ionosphere fall into two categories: the classical polar wind and the suprathermal ion flows. The flows in both these categories vary a great deal with altitude. The classical polar wind is supersonic at high altitude: at ∼3 RE geocentric, the observed polar wind is H+ dominated and has a Mach number of 2.5–5.1. At 400–600 km, thermal and suprathermal upward O+ ion fluxes frequently occur at the poleward edge of the nightside auroral oval during magnetically active times. Above 500 km, ions are accelerated transverse to the local geomagnetic field. At 1400 km, transversely accelerated ions are frequently observed in winter nights but rarely appear in the summer. In the dayside cleft above ∼2000 km, ions of all species are transversely heated and upwell with significant number and heat fluxes, forming a cleft ion fountain as they convect across the polar cap. Upwelling ions are observed most (least) frequently in the summer (winter). At yet higher altitudes, energetic (>10 eV to several kiloelectron volts) upflowing H+ and O+ ions are frequently observed, their active time occurrence frequency being as high as 0.7 at auroral latitudes and 0.3 in the polar cap. Their composition, intensity, and angular characteristics vary quantitatively with solar activity, being O+ dominant and more intense near solar maximum. Their resulting ion outflow is dominated by ions below 1 keV and reaches 3.5×10^26 O+ and 7×10^25 H+ ions s^{−1} at magnetically active times (Kp≥5) near solar maximum. In comparison, the estimated polar wind ion outflow at times of moderate solar activity is 7×10^25H+ and 4×10^24 He+ ions s^{−1}. The estimated <10-eV cleft ion fountain flow is 3.8×10^25 O+ and 8.6×10^23 H+ ions s^{−1} near solar maximum.

Item Type:Book or Report Section
Divisions:No Reading authors. Back catalogue items
Faculty of Science > School of Mathematical and Physical Sciences > Department of Meteorology
ID Code:38892
Publisher:American Geophysical Union

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