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On the occurrence and motion of decametre-scale irregularities in the sub-auroral, auroral, and polar cap ionosphere  [PDF]
M. L. Parkinson,J. C. Devlin,H. Ye,C. L. Waters
Annales Geophysicae (ANGEO) , 2003,
Abstract: The statistical occurrence of decametre-scale ionospheric irregularities, average line-of-sight (LOS) Doppler velocity, and Doppler spectral width in the sub-auroral, auroral, and polar cap ionosphere ( - 57°L to - 88°L) has been investigated using echoes recorded with the Tasman International Geospace Environment Radar (TIGER), a SuperDARN radar located on Bruny Island, Tasmania (147.2° E, 43.4° S geographic; - 54.6 °L). Results are shown for routine soundings made on the magnetic meridian beam 4 and the near zonal beam 15 during the sunspot maximum interval December 1999 to November 2000. Most echoes were observed in the nightside ionosphere, typically via 1.5-hop propagation near dusk and then via 0.5-hop propagation during pre-midnight to dawn. Peak occurrence rates on beam 4 were often > 60% near magnetic midnight and ~ - 70 °L. They increased and shifted equatorward and toward pre-midnight with increasing Kp (i.e. Bz southward). The occurrence rates remained very high for Kp > 4, de-spite enhanced D-region absorption due to particle precipitation. Average occurrence rates on beam 4 exhibited a relatively weak seasonal variation, consistent with known longitudinal variations in auroral zone magnetic activity (Basu, 1975). The average echo power was greatest between 23 and 07 MLT. Two populations of echoes were identified on both beams, those with low spectral width and a mode value of ~ 9 ms-1 (bin size of 2 ms-1) concentrated in the auroral and sub-auroral ionosphere (population A), and those with high spectral width and a mode value of ~ 70 ms-1 concentrated in the polar cap ionosphere (population B). The occurrence of population A echoes maximised post-midnight because of TIGER’s lower latitude, but the subset of the population A echoes observed near dusk had characteristics reminiscent of "dusk scatter" (Ruohoniemi et al., 1988). There was a dusk "bite out" of large spectral widths between ~ 15 and 21 MLT and poleward of - 67 °L, and a pre-dawn enhancement of large spectral widths between ~ 03 and 07 MLT, centred on ~ - 61 °L. The average LOS Doppler velocities revealed that frequent westward jets of plasma flow occurred equatorward of, but overlapping, the diffuse auroral oval in the pre-midnight sector. Key words. Ionosphere (auroral ionosphere; electric fields and currents, ionospheric irregularities)
Altitude dependence of plasma density in the auroral zone  [PDF]
P. Janhunen,A. Olsson,H. Laakso
Annales Geophysicae (ANGEO) , 2003,
Abstract: We study the altitude dependence of plasma depletions above the auroral region in the 5000–30 000 km altitude range using five years of Polar spacecraft potential data. We find that besides a general decrease of plasma density with altitude, there frequently exist additional density depletions at 2–4 RE radial distance, where RE is the Earth radius. The position of the depletions tends to move to higher altitude when the ionospheric footpoint is sunlit as compared to darkness. Apart from these cavities at 2–4 RE radial distance, separate cavities above 4 RE occur in the midnight sector for all Kp and also in the morning sector for high Kp. In the evening sector our data remain inconclusive in this respect. This holds for the ILAT range 68–74. These additional depletions may be substorm-related. Our study shows that auroral phenomena modify the plasma density in the auroral region in such a way that a nontrivial and interesting altitude variation results, which reflects the nature of the auroral acceleration processes. Key words. Magnetospheric physics (auroral phenomena; magnetosphere–ionosphere interactions)
Influence of the ionosphere on the altitude of discrete auroral arcs
C. S. Deehr, M. H. Rees, A. E. H. Belon, G. J. Romick,D. Lummerzheim
Annales Geophysicae (ANGEO) , 2005,
Abstract: The altitude of the maximum luminosity of single, discrete auroral arcs was measured by photometric triangulation from two stations (College and Fort Yukon, Alaska) located 226km apart on nearly the same magnetic meridian. The average height of the evening aurora decreases smoothly with increasing solar depression angle (sda) from 160km near 12° sda to 100km after 18° sda. The average height remains constant until around 12° sda in the morning. This diurnal variation is similar to that of the electron density in the F region of the ionosphere. Thus, the behavior is consistent with the concept that the mean auroral electron energy increases as the ionospheric conductivity decreases due to ionospheric recombination in the evening twilight. However, the mean electron energy decreases in magnitude at dawn when the solar ionizing radiation returns and the electron density in the F region increases. The magnetospheric acceleration mechanism associated with discrete auroral arcs thus appears to be inversely proportional to the ionospheric conductivity, because the time variation of the acceleration mechanism coincides with the local F region electron density and not with any obvious magnetospheric process. Previous auroral altitude observations, using similar triangulation methods, showed that the altitude of discrete auroral arcs increases as a function of latitude. When these data are corrected for the twilight effect, the dependence of altitude on latitude disappears. Thus, the average altitude of discrete auroral arcs and, by inference the magnetospheric auroral electron acceleration mechanism, is significantly influenced by the initial ionospheric conductance.
Auroral ion outflow: low altitude energization
K. A. Lynch, J. L. Semeter, M. Zettergren, P. Kintner, R. Arnoldy, E. Klatt, J. LaBelle, R. G. Michell, E. A. MacDonald,M. Samara
Annales Geophysicae (ANGEO) , 2007,
Abstract: The SIERRA nightside auroral sounding rocket made observations of the origins of ion upflow, at topside F-region altitudes (below 700 km), comparatively large topside plasma densities (above 20 000/cc), and low energies (10 eV). Upflowing ions with bulk velocities up to 2 km/s are seen in conjunction with the poleward edge of a nightside substorm arc. The upflow is limited within the poleward edge to a region (a) of northward convection, (b) where Alfvénic and Pedersen conductivities are well-matched, leading to good ionospheric transmission of Alfvénic power, and (c) of soft electron precipitation (below 100 eV). Models of the effect of the soft precipitation show strong increases in electron temperature, increasing the scale height and initiating ion upflow. Throughout the entire poleward edge, precipitation of moderate-energy (100s of eV) protons and oxygen is also observed. This ion precipitation is interpreted as reflection from a higher-altitude, time-varying field-aligned potential of upgoing transversely heated ion conics seeded by the low altitude upflow.
On the collocation between dayside auroral activity and coherent HF radar backscatter  [PDF]
J. Moen,H. C. Carlson,S. E. Milan,N. Shumilov
Annales Geophysicae (ANGEO) , 2003,
Abstract: The 2D morphology of coherent HF radar and optical cusp aurora has been studied for conditions of predominantly southward IMF conditions, which favours low-latitude boundary layer reconnection. Despite the variability in shape of radar cusp Doppler spectra, the spectral width criterion of > 220 m s–1 proves to be a robust cusp discriminator. For extended periods of well-developed radar backscatter echoes, the equatorward boundary of the > 220 m s–1 spectral width enhancement lines up remarkably well with the equatorward boundary of the optical cusp aurora. The spectral width boundary is however poorly determined during development and fading of radar cusp backscatter. Closer inspection of radar Doppler profile characteristics suggests that a combination of spectral width and shape may advance boundary layer identification by HF radar. For the two December days studied the onset of radar cusp backscatter occurred within pre-existing 630.0 nm cusp auroral activity and appear to be initiated by sunrise, i.e. favourable radio wave propagation conditions had to develop. Better methods are put forward for analysing optical data, and for physical interpretation of HF radar data, and for combining these data, as applied to detection, tracking, and better understanding of dayside aurora. The broader motivation of this work is to develop wider use by the scientific community, of results of these techniques, to accelerate understanding of dynamic high-latitude boundary-processes. The contributions in this work are: (1) improved techniques of analysis of observational data, yielding meaningfully enhanced accuracy for deduced cusp locations; (2) a correspondingly more pronounced validation of correlation of boundary locations derived from the observational data set; and (3) a firmer physical rationale as to why the good correlation observed should theoretically be expected. Key words: Ionosphere (ionospheric irregularities; polar ionosphere)
Investigation of the relationship between optical auroral forms and HF radar E region backscatter  [PDF]
S. E. Milan,M. Lester,N. Sato,H. Takizawa
Annales Geophysicae (ANGEO) , 2003,
Abstract: The SuperDARN HF radars have been employed in the past to investigate the spectral characteristics of coherent backscatter from L-shell aligned features in the auroral E region. The present study employs all-sky camera observations of the aurora from Husafell, Iceland, and the two SuperDARN radars located on Iceland, Tykkvib r and Stokkseyri, to determine the optical signature of such backscatter features. It is shown that, especially during quiet geomagnetic conditions, the backscatter region is closely associated with east-west aligned diffuse auroral features, and that the two move in tandem with each other. This association between optical and radar aurora has repercussions for the instability mechanisms responsible for generating the E region irregularities from which radars scatter. This is discussed and compared with previous studies investigating the relationship between optical and VHF radar aurora. In addition, although it is known that E region backscatter is commonly observed by SuperDARN radars, the present study demonstrates for the first time that multiple radars can observe the same feature to extend over at least 3 h of magnetic local time, allowing precipitation features to be mapped over large portions of the auroral zone. Key words: Ionosphere (particle precipitation; plasma waves and instabilities)
The relationship between VHF radar auroral backscatter amplitude and Doppler velocity: a statistical study  [cached]
B. A. Shand,M. Lester,T. K. Yeoman
Annales Geophysicae (ANGEO) , 2003,
Abstract: A statistical investigation of the relationship between VHF radar auroral backscatter intensity and Doppler velocity has been undertaken with data collected from 8 years operation of the Wick site of the Sweden And Britain Radar-auroral Experiment (SABRE). The results indicate three different regimes within the statistical data set; firstly, for Doppler velocities <200 m s–1, the backscatter intensity (measured in decibels) remains relatively constant. Secondly, a linear relationship is observed between the backscatter intensity (in decibels) and Doppler velocity for velocities between 200 m s–1 and 700 m s–1. At velocities greater than 700 m s–1 the backscatter intensity saturates at a maximum value as the Doppler velocity increases. There are three possible geophysical mechanisms for the saturation in the backscatter intensity at high phase speeds: a saturation in the irregularity turbulence level, a maximisation of the scattering volume, and a modification of the local ambient electron density. There is also a difference in the dependence of the backscatter intensity on Doppler velocity for the flow towards and away from the radar. The results for flow towards the radar exhibit a consistent relationship between backscatter intensity and measured velocities throughout the solar cycle. For flow away from the radar, however, the relationship between backscatter intensity and Doppler velocity varies during the solar cycle. The geometry of the SABRE system ensures that flow towards the radar is predominantly associated with the eastward electrojet, and flow away is associated with the westward electrojet. The difference in the backscatter intensity variation as a function of Doppler velocity is attributed to asymmetries between the eastward and westward electrojets and the geophysical parameters controlling the backscatter amplitude.
SuperDARN E-region backscatter boundary in the dusk-midnight sector – tracer of equatorward boundary of the auroral oval  [PDF]
P. T. Jayachandran,E. F. Donovan,J. W. MacDougall,D. R. Moorcroft
Annales Geophysicae (ANGEO) , 2003,
Abstract: We compare the locations of the equatorward boundaries of SuperDARN E-region backscatter and Hb emissions, focusing on the dusk-midnight sector of the auroral oval where the proton aurora is statistically located equatorward of the discrete electron aurora. We show that, whenever both boundaries can be simultaneously identified, they are coincident. Our result complements earlier studies, which demonstrated the correspondence between the DMSP b2i boundary and both the equatorward boundary of the proton auroral oval (Donovan et al., 2002), and the equatorward boundary of SuperDARN E-region echoes (Jayachandran et al., 2002). Further, our result shows that, provided there is sufficient precipitating proton energy flux, the SuperDARN radars can be used to monitor the equatorward edge of the proton auroral oval. Key words. Ionosphere (auroral ionosphere; particle precipitation; ionospheric irregularities)
A classification of spectral populations observed in HF radar backscatter from the E region auroral electrojets
S. E. Milan ,M. Lester
Annales Geophysicae (ANGEO) , 2001,
Abstract: Observations of HF radar backscatter from the auroral electrojet E region indicate the presence of five major spectral populations, as opposed to the two predominant spectral populations, types I and II, observed in the VHF regime. The Doppler shift, spectral width, backscatter power, and flow angle dependencies of these five populations are investigated and described. Two of these populations are identified with type I and type II spectral classes, and hence, are thought to be generated by the two-stream and gradient drift instabilities, respectively. The remaining three populations occur over a range of velocities which can greatly exceed the ion acoustic speed, the usual limiting velocity in VHF radar observations of the E region. The generation of these spectral populations is discussed in terms of electron density gradients in the electrojet region and recent non-linear theories of E region irregularity generation. Key words. Ionosphere (ionospheric irregularities)
High-altitude and high-latitude O+ and H+ outflows: the effect of finite electromagnetic turbulence wavelength
I. A. Barghouthi, N. M. Doudin, A. A. Saleh,V. Pierrard
Annales Geophysicae (ANGEO) , 2007,
Abstract: The energization of ions, due to interaction with electromagnetic turbulence (i.e. wave-particle interactions), has an important influence on H+ and O+ ions outflows in the polar region. The effects of altitude and velocity dependent wave-particle interaction on H+ and O+ ions outflows in the auroral region were investigated by using Monte Carlo method. The Monte Carlo simulation included the effects of altitude and velocity dependent wave-particle interaction, gravity, polarization electrostatic field, and divergence of auroral geomagnetic field within the simulation tube (1.2–10 earth radii, RE). As the ions are heated due to wave-particle interactions (i.e. ion interactions with electromagnetic turbulence) and move to higher altitudes, the ion gyroradius ρi may become comparable to the electromagnetic turbulence wavelength λ⊥ and consequently (k⊥ρi) becomes larger than unity. This turns the heating rate to be negligible and the motion of the ions is described by using Liouville theorem. The main conclusions are as follows: (1) the formation of H+ and O+ conics at lower altitudes and for all values of λ⊥; (2) O+ toroids appear at 3.72 RE, 2.76 RE and 2 RE, for λ⊥=100, 10, and 1 km, respectively; however, H+ toroids appear at 6.6 RE, 4.4 RE and 3 RE, for λ⊥=100, 10, and 1 km, respectively; and H+ and O+ ion toroids did not appear for the case λ⊥ goes to infinity, i.e. when the effect of velocity dependent wave-particle interaction was not included; (3) As λ⊥ decreases, H+ and O+ ion drift velocity decreases, H+ and O+ ion density increases, H+ and O+ ion perpendicular temperature and H+ and O+ ion parallel temperature decrease; (4) Finally, including the effect of finite electromagnetic turbulence wavelength, i.e. the effect of velocity dependent diffusion coefficient and consequently, the velocity dependent wave-particle interactions produce realistic H+ and O+ ion temperatures and H+ and O+ toroids, and this is, qualitatively, consistent with the observations of H+ and O+ ions in the auroral region at high altitudes.
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