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Bryers C.J.,Lancaster University | Kosch M.J.,Lancaster University | Kosch M.J.,University of KwaZulu - Natal | Senior A.,Lancaster University | And 2 more authors.
Journal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics | Year: 2013

We test the existing theories regarding the thresholds for the parametric decay instability (PDI), the oscillating two-steam instability (OTSI), and the thermal parametric instability (TPI) using the European Incoherent Scatter (EISCAT) facility's ionospheric heater. In these processes, the pump wave can couple to various electrostatic waves in the F layer ionosphere, which can be observed using the EISCAT UHF radar (PDI and OTSI) or by HF radar (TPI). On 19 October 2012, the heater power was stepped from ∼0.5 MW to ∼100 MW effective radiated power in seven steps using a 1 min on, 1 min off cycle. We use an electric field model, taking into account D region absorption, to compare theory with our observations. In all three cases, we find good agreement. In addition, the growth of striations formed during the TPI causes anomalous absorption of the heater wave, which we observe as decreased UHF ion line and plasma line backscatter power. We show evidence that heating for a prolonged period of time reduces the UHF ion line intensity throughout the experiment. Key Points Test theories regarding plasma instabilities generated in the ionosphere Detect threshold for striation growth during power stepping heating experiment Striations anomalous absorption decrease ion and plasma line backscatter © 2013 The Authors. Journal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics published by Wiley on behalf of American Geophysical Union.

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