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Narrow width Farley-Buneman spectra under strong electric field conditions
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  • Jean-Pierre St.- Maurice,
  • Devin Huyghebaert,
  • Magnus Fagernes Ivarsen,
  • Glenn C. Hussey
Jean-Pierre St.- Maurice
U of Saskatchewan

Corresponding Author:[email protected]

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Devin Huyghebaert
UiT The Arctic University of Norway
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Magnus Fagernes Ivarsen
University of Saskatchewan
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Glenn C. Hussey
University of Saskatchewan
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As a rule, the phase velocity of unstable Farley-Buneman waves is found not to exceed the ion-acoustic speed, cs. However, there are known exceptions: under strong electric field conditions, much faster Doppler shifts than expected cs values are sometimes observed with coherent radars at high latitudes. These Doppler shifts are associated with narrow spectral width situations. To find out how much faster than cs these Doppler shifts might be, we developed a proper cs model as a function of altitude and electric field strength based on ion frictional heating and on a recently developed empirical model of the electron temperature under strong electric field conditions. Motivated by the ‘narrow fast’ observations, we then explored how ion drifts in the upper part of the unstable region could add to the Doppler shift observed with coherent radars. While there can be no ion drift contribution for the most unstable modes, and therefore no difference with cs for such modes, under strong electric field conditions, a large ion drift contribution of either sign needs to be added to the Doppler shift of more weakly unstable modes, turning them into ‘fast-‘ or ‘slow-’ narrow spectra. Particularly between 110 and 115 km, the ion drift can alter the Doppler shift of the more weakly unstable modes by several 100 m/s, to the point that their largest phase velocities could approach the ambient E x B drift itself.