Sufficient Conditions Of Rayleigh-Taylor Stability And Instability In Equatorial Ionosphere
Published 2016 · Physics
Rayleigh-Taylor (R-T) instability is known as the fundamental mechanism of equatorial plasma bubbles (EPBs). However, the sufficient conditions of R-T instability and stability have not yet been derived. In the present paper, the sufficient conditions of R-T stability and instability are preliminarily derived. Linear equations for small perturbation are first obtained from the electron/ion continuity equations, momentum equations, and the current continuity equation in the equatorial ionosphere. The linear equations can be casted as an eigenvalue equation using a normal mode method. The eigenvalue equation is a variable coefficient linear equation that can be solved using a variational approach. With this approach, the sufficient conditions can be obtained as follows: if the minimum systematic eigenvalue is greater than one, the ionosphere is R-T unstable; while if the maximum systematic eigenvalue is less than one, the ionosphere is R-T stable. An approximate numerical method for obtaining the systematic eigenvalues is introduced, and the R-T stable/unstable areas are calculated. Numerical experiments are designed to validate the sufficient conditions. The results agree with the derived sufficient conditions.