Our principal focus is the research on the complex and extreme state of disturbance that occurs in the magnetically equatorial ionosphere nearly every day after sunset, and on the ionosphere-thermosphere-electrodynamics (ITE) system that constantly controls the dynamics of the plasma density, creating the proper conditions to initiate plasma turbulence. Known and studied for seven decades, the equatorial spread F (ESF) phenomena are now held responsible for causing high-technology (GPS) navigation and communication failures that depend on inter-hemispheric links. Enough is known and understood about this region and its processes to show conclusively that nothing less than a meteorological approach to detailed and comprehensive observations, integrated closely with assimilative modeling, can lead to physical understanding and the imperatives of practical forecasting and nowcasting.