Reviews of Geophysics

Atmospheric gravity waves generated in the high-latitude ionosphere: A review


  • Robert D. Hunsucker


A review of theoretical and observational results describing atmospheric gravity wave (AGW)/traveling ionospheric disturbance (TID) phenomena at high latitudes is presented. Some recent experimental studies of AGW's using the Chatanika incoherent scatter radar and other geophysical sensors are reported. Specifically, the following features are described in detail: (1) cause/effect relations between aurorally generated AGW's and TID's detected at mid-latitudes, including probable ‘source signature’ identification, (2) AGW source phenomenology, particularly a semiquantitative assessment of the relative importance of Joule heating, Lorentz forces, intense particle precipitation, and other mechanisms in generating AGW's, and (3) detection of TID's in the auroral ionosphere. Several instances of F region electron density, temperature, and plasma periodicities accompanied by horizontal plasma velocities which were consistent with theoretical AGW/TID models are documented.