Articles | Volume 8, issue 3
Nonlin. Processes Geophys., 8, 181–190, 2001
https://doi.org/10.5194/npg-8-181-2001

Special issue: Theory and simulation of Solar System Plasmas, No. 2

Nonlin. Processes Geophys., 8, 181–190, 2001
https://doi.org/10.5194/npg-8-181-2001

  30 Jun 2001

30 Jun 2001

Nonlinear saturation of Rayleigh-Taylor instability and generation of shear flow in equatorial spread-F plasma

N. Chakrabarti1,2 and G. S. Lakhina1 N. Chakrabarti and G. S. Lakhina
  • 1Indian Institute of Geomagnetism, Dr. Nanabhai Moos marg, Colaba, Mumbai 400 005, India
  • 2Saha Institute of Nuclear Physics, Plasma Physics Division, Bidhannagar, Calcutta 700 064, India

Abstract. An analysis of low order mode coupling equations is used to describe the nonlinear behaviour of the Rayleigh-Taylor (RT) instability in the equatorial ionosphere. The nonlinear evolution of RT instability leads to the development of shear flow. It is found that there is an interplay between the nonlinearity and the shear flow which compete with each other and saturate the RT mode, both in the collisionless and collisional regime. However, the nonlinearly saturated state, normally known as vortices or bubbles, may not be stable. Under certain condition these bubbles are shown to be unstable to short scale secondary instabilities that are driven by the large gradients which develop within these structures. Some understanding of the role of collisional nonlinearity in the  shear flow generations is also discussed.