a1 Swedish Institute of Space Physics, University of Umeå, S-901 87 UMEÅ, Sweden
We develop an (r, k) phase-space description of waves in plasmas by introducing Gaussian window functions to separate short-scale oscillations from long-scale modulations of the wave fields and variations in the plasma parameters. To obtain a wave equation that unambiguously separates conservative dynamics from dissipation in an inhomogeneous and time-varying background plasma, we first discuss the proper form of the current response function. In analogy with the particle distribution function f(v, r, t), we introduce a wave density N(k, r, t) on phase space. This function is proved to satisfy a simple continuity equation. Dissipation is also included, and this allows us to describe the damping or growth of wave density along rays. Problems involving geometric optics of continuous media often appear simpler when viewed in phase space, since the flow of N in phase space is incompressible.
(Received December 05 1991)
(Revised February 07 1992)