Geophysical Research Letters

Global modeling of equatorial plasma bubbles

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Abstract

[1] The NRL three-dimensional ionospheric simulation code SAMI3 is used to model the onset and evolution of equatorial spread F (ESF). SAMI3 is a comprehensive ionosphere model that has been modified to self-consistently solve for the global neutral wind driven dynamo electric field as well as the gravity driven electric field associated with plasma bubbles. The latter is achieved with a high resolution longitudinal grid in the pre- to post-sunset sector (i.e., 1630 MLT–2230 MLT). Initial results from the new simulation model are presented. It is shown that ESF can be triggered by pre-sunset ionospheric density perturbations, and that an existing ESF bubble can trigger a new bubble.

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