Multi-payload measurement of transverse velocity shears in the topside ionosphere

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Abstract

[1] Using a multi-payload sounding rocket mission, we present the first direct measurement of velocity shear in the topside auroral ionosphere. In regions of large, ∼200 mV/m, transient electric fields we directly measure differences in the plasma drift velocity. From these differences, shear frequencies reaching ±6Hz are measured. These directly measured shears are compared with the shear inferred from single payload measurements. It is shown this traditional measurement of shear overestimates the shear frequency by a factor of two for this event, highlighting the importance of the temporal component of near-DC electric field structures. Coincident with these strong fields and shears are enhanced emissions of broadband, extremely low frequency (BB-ELF) plasma waves, and a narrowband wave emission near the H+-O+bi-ion resonant frequency.

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