Polar cap F layer patches: Structure and dynamics


  • E. J. Weber,

  • J. A. Klobuchar,

  • J. Buchau,

  • H. C. Carlson Jr.,

  • R. C. Livingston,

  • O. de la Beaujardiere,

  • M. McCready,

  • J. G. Moore,

  • G. J. Bishop


Coordinated measurements of F region plasma patches were conducted on February 3/4, 1984, from Thule and Sondrestrom, Greenland. Optical, ionosonde, amplitude scintillation, total electron content (TEC), and incoherent scatter radar measurements were combined to reveal several new aspects of the structure and transport of these localized regions of enhanced F region ionization. For the first time these patches were directly tracked flowing in the antisunward direction over distances of 3000 km from the center of the polar cap to the poleward edge of the auroral oval. Quantitative measurements of TEC show increases of 10–15 TEC units within the patches, above a background polar cap value of 5 TEC units. Amplitude scintillation measurements show the presence of ionospheric irregularities through the entire patch, with a weak indication of stronger scintillation on the trailing (or E × B unstable) edge.