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The magnetohydrodynamic description of Earth's ionosphere

By B P Pandey


The wave propagation in the partially ionized ionosphere plays an important role in the magnetosphere ionosphere coupling. For example, the ionosphere may supports very low-frequency Alfven wave which can be caused by a balance between the bulk fluid inertia (mostly due to neutrals in the lower and middle E region) and the deformation of the magnetic field. The plasma neutral collisional momentum exchange facilitates the transfer of the magnetic stress (felt directly by the ions) to the neutrals. Therefore, in the low-frequency (with respect to the neutral ion collision frequency) limit, waves through the ionosphere can propagate with very little damping. In the vanishing plasma inertia limit, waves can be excited due to the loading of neutral inertia on the field lines and thus may have very long wavelength and can easily couple to the magnetosphere. The frequency of these waves are below few Hz.Comment: invited review, to appear in Afr. Physics Revie

Topics: Physics - Plasma Physics, Astrophysics - Solar and Stellar Astrophysics
Year: 2016
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