Three-dimensional nonlinear evolution of equatorial ionospheric spread-F bubbles



[1] Using numerical simulation techniques, we present the first study of the three-dimensional nonlinear evolution of an equatorial spread-F bubble. The background ionosphere used to initialize the bubble evolution is computed using a time-dependent first-principles equatorial plasma fountain model together with a prereversal enhancement vertical drift model. We find that finite parallel conductivity effects slow down both the linear and nonlinear bubble evolution compared to the two-dimensional evolution. In addition we find that bubble-like structures with extremely sharp density gradients can be generated off the equator at equatorial anomaly latitudes in agreement with recent observations.