TitleElectrodynamics of the equatorial evening ionosphere: 2. Conductivity influences on convection, current, and electrodynamic energy flow
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2015
AuthorsRichmond, AD, Fang, T-W
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics
Paginationn/a - n/a
Date Published03/2015
Keywordsequatorial ionosphere convection; night-time ionization; pre-reversal enhancement

We analyze how the evening equatorial plasma vortex and the prereversal enhancement (PRE) of the vertical drift are influenced by the distributions of conductivity in the E and F regions in relation to the wind, through numerical simulations with the thermosphere-ionosphere-electrodynamics general circulation model coupled with the global ionosphere-plasmasphere model. The nightside electric potential satisfies an approximate minimization principle that unifies the connection of the horizontal and vertical components of plasma convection to the wind and conductivity distributions. The relative roles of E and F region conductivities on the convection and current closure are clarified. Evening time F region zonal winds at latitudes that encompass the equatorial ionization anomaly (EIA) region provide the main energy source to drive the convection, including the PRE. The E region helps regulate both the meridional and the zonal convection through drag on the meridional convection associated with Cowling current. For large nighttime E region conductivities, additional drag on the zonal convection comes from the Pedersen conductance. The minimization principle favors meridional plasma inflow to the EIA region from lower rather than higher magnetic apex heights, so long as the E region Cowling conductance is not too large. This upward/poleward inflow maximizes on field lines that traverse the lower F layer near the equatorward edge of the EIA region, producing a PRE with maximum vertical velocity within the equatorial F layer.

Short TitleJ. Geophys. Res. Space Physics

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