Perspectives on ionospheric plasma processes have expanded from narrow views on local phenomenology to more global approaches that recognize the importance of a multitude of coupling mechanisms. This includes attempts to develop truly predictive capabilities for such diverse phenomena as equatorial spread-F and high latitude ionospheric responses to substorm activity. The approach now recognizes and perhaps even emphasizes that the ionospheric domains are not isolated subsystems but are active and interactive elements in the much larger solar-terrestrial network. In fact, it is an accepted principle that the ionosphere can exert important feedback on magnetospheric events. A number of these aspects will be considered in this review, with a focus on a developing understanding of dynamic and irregular ionospheric structures and associated relationships to local and remote geophysical plasma controls.
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