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Flow in the high latitude ionosphere: measurements at 15s resolution made using the EISCAT ‘Polar’ experiment

Todd, H., Cowley, S.W.H., Etemadi, A., Bromage, B.J.I., Lockwood, M. ORCID:, Willis, D.M. and Lühr, H. (1988) Flow in the high latitude ionosphere: measurements at 15s resolution made using the EISCAT ‘Polar’ experiment. Journal of Atmospheric and Terrestrial Physics, 50 (4-5). pp. 423-446. ISSN 00219169

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1016/0021-9169(88)90026-8


We present a first overview of flows in the high latitude ionosphere observed at 15 s resolution using the U.K.-Polar EISCAT experiment. Data are described from experiments conducted on two days, 27 October 1984 and 29 August 1985, which together span the local times between about 0200 and 2130MLT and cover five different regions of ionospheric flow. With increasing local time, these are: the dawn auroral zone flow cell, the dayside region of low background flows equatorward of the flow cells, the dusk auroral zone flow cell, the boundary region between the dusk auroral zone and the polar cap, and the evening polar cap. Flows in both the equatorward and poleward portions of the auroral zone cells appear to be relatively smooth, while in the central region of high speed flow considerable variations are generally present. These have the form of irregular fluctuations on a wide range of time scales in the early morning dawn cell, and impulsive wave-like variations with periods of a few minutes in the afternoon dusk cell. In the dayside region between the flow cells, the ionosphere is often essentially stagnant for long intervals, but low amplitude ULF waves with a period of about 5 min can also occur and persist for many cycles. These conditions are punctuated at one to two hour intervals by sudden ‘flow burst’ events with impulsively generated damped wave trains. Initial burst flows are generally directed poleward and can peak at line-of-sight speeds in excess of 1 km s^{−1} after perhaps 45 s. Flows in the polar cap are reasonably smooth on time scales of a few minutes and show no evidence for the presence of ULF waves. Under most, but not all, of the above conditions, the beam-swinging algorithm used to determine background vector flows should produce meaningful results. Comparison of these flow data with simultaneous plasma and magnetic field measurements in the solar wind, made by the AMPTE IRM and UKS spacecraft, emphasizes the strong control exerted on high latitude flows by the north-south component of the IMF.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:No Reading authors. Back catalogue items
Science > School of Mathematical, Physical and Computational Sciences > Department of Meteorology
ID Code:38895

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