Electrostatic reconnection in the ionosphere

J. D. Huba, T. W. Wu, J. J. Makela

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Postsunset equatorial plasma bubble merging is examined using the National Research Laboratory code SAMI3/equatorial spread F. It is found that bubbles merge through an "electrostatic reconnection" process. As multiple bubbles develop, the electrostatic potential associated with one bubble can connect with that of a neighboring bubble: this provides a pathway for the low-density plasma in one bubble to flow into the adjoining bubble and merge with it. Additionally, high-speed plasma channels (approximately greater than hundreds of meters per second) can develop during the merging process. Optical data is presented of equatorial plasma bubble evolution that suggests bubble merging occurs in the nighttime equatorial ionosphere. Key Points Plasma bubbles can merge in the nighttime equatorial ionosphere The merging process occurs by electrostatic reconnection Optical observations support the merging of equatorial plasma bubbles

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1626-1631
Number of pages6
JournalGeophysical Research Letters
Volume42
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 28 2015

Keywords

  • electrostatic reconnection
  • equatorial dynamics
  • equatorial ionosphere
  • equatorial plasma bubbles
  • equatorial spread F

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geophysics
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences(all)

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