Atmospheric wave dynamics and their effects on the equatorial ionosphere: What do we know, what are the unknowns, and which are the important topics?
D. C. Fritts
NWRA/Colorado Research Associates, Boulder, CO
This talk will briefly review some of what we understand of neutral atmosphere wave influences in the ionosphere. The major emphasis, however, will be on where our understanding of these coupling processes is poor or absent, and which areas might be most important in advancing our knowledge of their ionospheric effects. We are developing a better understanding of the penetration of small- and large-scale waves into the thermosphere and ionosphere, and of their potential in situ sources at higher altitudes. Nevertheless, there remain significant uncertainties in how (and in some cases whether) these motions contribute to plasma processes in the ionosphere. Specific topics include 1) the amplitudes and scales of waves able to reach very high altitudes, 2) the impacts of momentum transport and mean forcing accompanying such motions, 3) the role of neutral instability dynamics in the thermosphere, and 4) potential seeding of plasma instabilities, especially ESF and RTI triggering plasma bubbles extending to much higher altitudes