We have used the radar interferometer technique at Jicamarca to study in detail irregularities with wavelengths of a few kilometers generated in the unstable equatorial electrojet plasma during strong type 1 conditions. In‐situ rocket observations of the same instability process are discussed in a companion paper. These large scale primary waves travel essentially horizontally and have large amplitudes. The vertical electron drift velocities driven by the horizontal wave electric fields reach or exceed the ion‐acoustic velocity even though the horizontal phase velocity of the wave is considerably smaller. A straightforward extension to the long wavelength regime of the usual linear theory of the electrojet instability explains this and several other observed features of these dominant primary waves.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- General Earth and Planetary Sciences