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The high-latitude sector is extremely rich in plasma instabilities and other processes that act to create structure in the ionosphere. Our primary interest lies in the horizontal variation of plasma density and electric fields. Since the magnetic field is nearly vertical, the horizontal structure is equivalent to variations perpendicular to the magnetic field. We use the generic term structure, since terms such as waves or plasma density irregularities conjure up specific sources. In fact, a very long list of processes contributes to the generation of horizontal structures in the plasma density and velocity field of the high-latitude ionosphere. It is essentially impossible to treat the topic in its entirety, since our understanding is developing very quickly. Our hope instead is to give a reasonable hint at the breadth of the phenomena involved and, within the various subtopics, to treat a few important processes in some detail. As was the case in earlier chapters, we start with the F region and follow with the E region in the second portion of the chapter.


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