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Radio Science

Implications of a heuristic model of auroral Farley Buneman waves and heating



[1] The global implications, particularly with respect to altitude dependence, of the heuristic model of Farley Buneman waves put forward initially by Milikh and Dimant (2002) are studied. This model prescribes a relationship between the background convection electric field that excites the waves and the transverse electric fields of the waves that grow in response. It also prescribes the magnetic aspect angle of the waves, which is related to their ability to heat the auroral E region. The prescription is based on the condition of marginal stability. We reformulate the basic model, which is local, and embed it in the SAMI2 ionospheric model, which includes wave and Joule heating, heat transport, cooling, temperature-dependent collisions, and related chemistry. Within the limits of its underlying assumptions, the combined model can be used to predict the phase-speeds and magnetic-aspect widths of Farley Buneman waves in the auroral zone and the heating they can cause, all as functions of altitude. Model predictions are compared with experimental results, and the efficacy of the model assessed. This modeling exercise highlights the importance of the thickness of the layer in which Farley Buneman waves exist, the strong variations in wave characteristics across the layer, and the consequences this has for coherent scatter radar measurements of the phenomenon.

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