HF heating offers a powerful technique for controlled studies of ionospheric plasma turbulence. Heater waves generate large plasma density depletions and sheet-like ionospheric irregularities in the F region, which can give rise to spread F backscatter. Electric fields associated with the induced irregularities can seed plasma instabilities, driven by such environmental causes as density gradients and ambient electric fields, to enhance spread F signatures. Significant reductions in the height-integrated radar backscatter power, measured during the HF heating, indicate the depletion of magnetic flux tubes. Density gradients at the edges of the depletions provide new sources of free energy to augment ionospheric plasma turbulence, enhancing the spread F processes. Furthermore, depleted magnetic flux tubes create and/or alter ionospheric ducts thus affecting radio wave propagation.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)