In this paper we will present the first fully three-dimensional analytic study of plasma cloud dynamics, as well as computational results based upon a recently developed three-dimensional electrostatic code. We derive a stability criterion for the large-scale structuring of an ionospheric cloud based on a water bag model for the special case Lz = rc(σ‖/σ⊥)1/2 (here, Lz is the half length of the cloud along the magnetic field, rc is the radius of the cloud, and σ‖,⊥ are the parallel and perpendicular cloud conductivities, respectively). We also present preliminary numerical results of three-dimensional plasma cloud behavior. We examine the self-consistent pressure-induced plasma flow that results from a realistic plasma cloud in a realistic atmosphere in two-dimensional cylindrical geometry, and the evolution of fully three-dimensional perturbations of such a cloud.
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