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Investigating turbulent structure of ionospheric plasma velocity using the Halley SuperDARN radar

By G. A. Abel, M. P. Freeman, G. Chisham and N. W. Watkins


We present a detailed analysis of the spatial structure of the ionospheric plasma velocity in the nightside F-region ionosphere, poleward of the open-closed magnetic field line boundary (OCB), i.e. in regions magnetically connected to the turbulent solar wind. We make use of spatially distributed measurements of the ionospheric plasma velocity made with the Halley Super Dual Auroral Radar Network (SuperDARN) radar between 1996 and 2003. We analyze the spatial structure of the plasma velocity using structure functions and P(0) scaling (where P(0) is the value of the probability density function at 0), which provide simple methods for deriving information about the scaling, intermittency and multi-fractal nature of the fluctuations. The structure functions can also be compared to values predicted by different turbulence models. We find that the limited range of velocity that can be measured by the Halley SuperDARN radar restricts our ability to calculate structure functions. We correct for this by using conditioning (removing velocity fluctuations with magnitudes larger than 3 standard deviations from our calculations). The resultant structure functions suggest that Kraichnan-Iroshnikov versions of P and log-normal models of turbulence best describe the velocity structure seen in the ionosphere

Topics: Physics, Space Sciences
Publisher: European Geosciences Union
Year: 2007
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