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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)
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)
On the altitude dependence of the spectral characteristics of decametre-wavelength E region backscatter and the relationship with optical auroral forms
S. E. Milan, M. Lester, N. Sato,H. Takizawa
Annales Geophysicae (ANGEO) , 2001,
Abstract: Observations of E region backscatter by the Ice-land East SuperDARN HF radar from the 30 minute period 2330 to 2400 UT on 13 September 1999 are presented, along with simultaneous observations of auroral luminosity from two all-sky cameras. Interferometric techniques are employed to estimate the altitude of origin of each echo observed by the radar. Under investigation is a region of backscatter which is L-shell aligned and exists in a region of low auroral luminosity bounded to the north and the south by two auroral arcs. The spectral characteristics of the backscatter fall into three main populations: broad, low Doppler shift spectra; narrow, high Doppler shift spectra; and exceptionally narrow, low Doppler shift spectra. The first two populations are similar to type II and type I spectra observed with VHF radars, respectively. These populations scatter from near the peak of the E region. The high Doppler shift population appears to exist in a region of sub-critical electric field. The third population originates below the E region peak at altitudes between 80 and 100 km. We argue that a non-coherent scattering process is responsible for this backscatter. Key words. Ionosphere (auroral ionosphere; ionospheric irregularities)
A comparison of satellite scintillation measurements with HF radar backscatter characteristics
S. E. Milan, S. Basu, T. K. Yeoman,R. E. Sheehan
Annales Geophysicae (ANGEO) , 2005,
Abstract: We examine the correspondence between high latitude ionospheric scintillation measurements made at 250MHz with the occurrence of 10MHz HF coherent radar backscatter, on 13 and 14 December 2002. We demonstrate that when the ionospheric intersection point of the scintillation measurements is co-located with significant HF radar backscatter, the observed scintillation, quantified by the S4 index, is elevated. Conversely, when the radar indicates that backscatter is observed away from the intersection point due to movements of the auroral zone, the observed scintillation is low. This suggests that scintillation is highly location-dependent, being enhanced in the auroral zone and being lower at sub-auroral latitudes. The coexistence of scintillation and HF radar backscatter, produced by ionospheric density perturbations with scale sizes of 100s of metres and ~15 m, respectively, suggests that a broad spectrum of density fluctuations is found in the auroral zone.
HF radar observations of high-aspect angle backscatter from the E-region
S. E. Milan, M. Lester, T. K. Yeoman, T. R. Robinson, M. V. Uspensky,J.-P. Villain
Annales Geophysicae (ANGEO) , 2004,
Abstract: We present evidence for the observation of high-aspect angle HF radar backscatter from the auroral electrojets, and describe the spectral characteristics of these echoes. Such backscatter is observed at very near ranges where ionospheric refraction is not sufficient to bring the sounding radio waves to orthogonality with the magnetic field; the frequency dependence of this propagation effect is investigated with the Stereo upgrade of the CUTLASS Iceland radar. We term the occurrence of such echoes the "high-aspect angle irregularity region" or HAIR. It is suggested that backscatter is observed at aspect angles as high as 30°, with an aspect sensitivity as low as 1dB deg–1. These echoes are distinguished from normal electrojet backscatter by having low Doppler shifts with an azimuthal dependence that appears more consistent with the direction of the convection electric field than with the expected electron drift direction. This is discussed in terms of the linear theory dispersion relation for electrojet waves. Key words. Ionosphere (ionospheric irregularities; plasma waves and instabilities; auroral ionosphere)
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.
HF radar observations of ionospheric backscatter during geomagnetically quiet periods
T. A. Kane, R. A. Makarevich,J. C. Devlin
Annales Geophysicae (ANGEO) , 2012,
Abstract: The quiet-time coherent backscatter from the F-region observed by the Tasman International Geospace Environment Radar (TIGER) Bruny Island HF radar is analysed statistically in order to determine typical trends and controlling factors in the ionospheric echo occurrence. A comparison of the F-region peak density values from the IRI-2007 model and ionosonde measurements in the vicinity of the radar's footprint shows a very good agreement, particularly at subauroral and auroral latitudes, and model densities within the radar's footprint are used in the following analyses. The occurrence of F-region backscatter is shown to exhibit distinct diurnal, seasonal and solar cycle variations and these are compared with model trends in the F-region peak electron density and Pedersen conductance of the underlying ionosphere. The solar cycle effects in occurrence are demonstrated to be strong and more complex than a simple proportionality on a year-to-year basis. The diurnal and seasonal effects are strongly coupled to each other, with diurnal trends exhibiting a systematic gradual variation from month to month that can be explained when both electron density and conductance trends are considered. During the night, the echo occurrence is suggested to be controlled directly by the density conditions, with a direct proportionality observed between the occurrence and peak electron density. During the day, the echo occurrence appears to be controlled by both conductance and propagation conditions. It is shown that the range of echo occurrence values is smaller for larger conductances and that the electron density determines what value the echo occurrence takes in that range. These results suggest that the irregularity production rates are significantly reduced by the highly conducting E layer during the day while F-region density effects dominate during the night.
Climatology of GPS phase scintillation and HF radar backscatter for the high-latitude ionosphere under solar minimum conditions
P. Prikryl, P. T. Jayachandran, S. C. Mushini,R. Chadwick
Annales Geophysicae (ANGEO) , 2011,
Abstract: Maps of GPS phase scintillation at high latitudes have been constructed after the first two years of operation of the Canadian High Arctic Ionospheric Network (CHAIN) during the 2008–2009 solar minimum. CHAIN consists of ten dual-frequency receivers, configured to measure amplitude and phase scintillation from L1 GPS signals and ionospheric total electron content (TEC) from L1 and L2 GPS signals. Those ionospheric data have been mapped as a function of magnetic local time and geomagnetic latitude assuming ionospheric pierce points (IPPs) at 350 km. The mean TEC depletions are identified with the statistical high-latitude and mid-latitude troughs. Phase scintillation occurs predominantly in the nightside auroral oval and the ionospheric footprint of the cusp. The strongest phase scintillation is associated with auroral arc brightening and substorms or with perturbed cusp ionosphere. Auroral phase scintillation tends to be intermittent, localized and of short duration, while the dayside scintillation observed for individual satellites can stay continuously above a given threshold for several minutes and such scintillation patches persist over a large area of the cusp/cleft region sampled by different satellites for several hours. The seasonal variation of the phase scintillation occurrence also differs between the nightside auroral oval and the cusp. The auroral phase scintillation shows an expected semiannual oscillation with equinoctial maxima known to be associated with aurorae, while the cusp scintillation is dominated by an annual cycle maximizing in autumn-winter. These differences point to different irregularity production mechanisms: energetic electron precipitation into dynamic auroral arcs versus cusp ionospheric convection dynamics. Observations suggest anisotropy of scintillation-causing irregularities with stronger L-shell alignment of irregularities in the cusp while a significant component of field-aligned irregularities is found in the nightside auroral oval. Scintillation-causing irregularities can coexist with small-scale field-aligned irregularities resulting in HF radar backscatter. The statistical cusp and auroral oval are characterized by the occurrence of HF radar ionospheric backscatter and mean ground magnetic perturbations due to ionospheric currents.
A comparison of optical and coherent HF radar backscatter observations of a post-midnight aurora  [PDF]
S. E. Milan,M. Lester,J. Moen
Annales Geophysicae (ANGEO) , 2003,
Abstract: A poleward-progressing 630 nm optical feature is observed between approximately 0100 UT and 0230 UT (0400 MLT to 0530 MLT) by a meridian-scanning photometer (MSP) located at Ny lesund, Svalbard. Simultaneous coherent HF radar measurements indicate a region of poleward-expanding backscatter with rapid sunward plasma flow velocity along the MSP meridian. Spatial maps of the backscatter indicate a stationary backscatter feature aligned obliquely with respect to the MSP meridian, which produces an impression of poleward-expansion as the MSP progresses to later MLT. Two interpretations of the observations are possible, depending on whether the arc system is considered to move (time-dependent) or to be stationary in time and apparent motion is produced as the MSP meridian rotates underneath it (time-independent). The first interpretation is as a poleward motion of an east-west aligned auroral arc. In this case the appearance of the region of backscatter is not associated with the optical feature, though the velocities within it are enhanced when the two are co-located. The second interpretation is as a polar arc or theta aurora, common features of the polar cap under the prevailing IMF northwards conditions. In this case the backscatter appears as an approximately 150 km wide region adjacent to the optical arc. In both interpretations the luminosity of the optical feature appears related to the magnitude of the plasma flow velocity. The optical features presented here do not generate appreciable HF coherent backscatter, and are only identifiable in the backscatter data as a modification of the flow by the arc electrodynamics.
A case study of HF radar spectra and 630.0 nm auroral emission in the pre-midnight sector  [PDF]
M. Lester,S. E. Milan,V. Besser,R. Smith
Annales Geophysicae (ANGEO) , 2003,
Abstract: A comparison of HF radar backscatter observed by the CUTLASS Finland radar, meridian scanning photometer data from Longyearbyen, magnetic field variations from IMAGE stations, and particle precipitation measured by the DMSP F12 spacecraft is presented. The interval under discussion occurred in the pre-midnight local time sector, during a period of weakly northward interplanetary magnetic field. A region of HF backscatter, typically 8 degrees wide, occurred in the field of view of the CUTLASS Finland radar. A well defined gradient in the spectral width parameter was present, with mainly low (< 200 m s - 1 ) spectral widths in the lower latitude part of the scatter and predominantly large (> 200 ms - 1 ) spectral widths in the higher latitude part. The relationship between the spectral width and the red line (630.0 nm) emission measured by the meridian scanning photometer is considered. The poleward border of the red line emission, which has, in the past, been proposed as being representative of the polar cap boundary, was co-located to within 1° of magnetic latitude with the gradient in spectral width for part of the interval. Statistically, large spectral widths occurred poleward of the red line emission, while small spectral widths occurred within or equatorward of the red line emission. Near simultaneous DMSP particle observations in the 20 eV to 20 keV range indicate that the poleward border of the red line emission and the gradient in spectral width occurred at the same latitude as the transition from auroral oval to polar rain particle energies. We conclude that the large spectral widths were not caused by particle precipitation associated with the auroral oval. There were two periods of special interest when the relationship between the red line and the spectral width broke down. The first of these happened during enhanced red line and green line (557.7 nm) emission, with a drop out of the radar scatter and an enhanced, narrow westward electrojet. We conclude that this event was a magnetospheric substorm occurring at much higher than usual latitudes. The second period of special interest happened when equatorward moving bands of large spectral width occurred within the region of scatter. Up to 4 of these bands were present during an interval of 100 minutes. Associated with these narrow bands of large spectral width were narrow channels of enhanced westward ion velocities. We conclude that these equatorward moving bands of large spectral width may be related to reconnection processes in the tail. The observations demonstrate that the tail continues
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