Relationship between polar cap patches and field-aligned irregularities as observed with an all-sky airglow imager at Resolute Bay and the PolarDARN radar at Rankin Inlet

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Abstract

[1] Simultaneous two-dimensional observations of airglow enhancement and radar backscatter from field-aligned irregularities (FAIs) associated with polar cap patches were conducted. The spatial structure of 630 nm airglow from polar cap patches was imaged using an all-sky airglow imager at Resolute Bay, Canada, while backscatter echoes from decameter-scale FAIs were observed using the newly constructed HF Polar Dual Auroral Radar Network (PolarDARN) radar at Rankin Inlet, Canada. Both the airglow enhancement and the radar backscatter appeared within a structured region with the spatial extent of about 500–1000 km. The decameter-scale FAIs were found to extend over the entire region of airglow enhancement associated with polar cap patches, indicating that the polar patch plasma became almost fully structured soon after initiation (within approximately 20–25 min). These findings imply that some rapid structuring process of the entire patch area is involved in addition to the primary gradient-drift instabilities.

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