F-region ionosphere effects on the mapping accuracy of SuperDARN HF radar echoes

Chen, X.-C.; Lorentzen, D.A.; Moen, J. I.; Oksavik, K.; Baddeley, L.J.; Lester, M.. 2016 F-region ionosphere effects on the mapping accuracy of SuperDARN HF radar echoes. Radio Science, 51 (5). 490-506.

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Structured particle precipitation in the cusp is an important source for the generation of F-region ionospheric irregularities. The equatorward boundaries of broad Doppler spectral width in Super Dual Auroral Radar Network (SuperDARN) data and the concurrent OI 630.0 nm auroral emission are good empirical proxies for the dayside open-closed field line boundary (OCB). However, SuperDARN currently employs a simple virtual model to determine the location of its echoes, instead of a direct calculation of the radio wave path. The varying ionospheric conditions could influence the final mapping accuracy of SuperDARN echoes. A statistical comparison of the offsets between the SuperDARN Finland radar spectral width boundary (SWB) and the OI 630.0 nm auroral emission boundary (AEB) from a meridian-scanning photometer (MSP) on Svalbard is performed in this paper. By restricting the location of the 630.0 nm data to be near local zenith where the MSP has the highest spatial resolution, the optical mapping errors were significantly reduced. The variation of the SWB – AEB offset confirms that there is a close relationship between the mapping accuracy of the HF radar echoes and solar activity. The asymmetric variation of the SWB – AEB offset versus magnetic local time suggests that the intake of high density solar extreme ultraviolet ionized plasma from post-noon at sub-auroral latitudes could result in a stronger refraction of the HF radar signals in the noon sector. While changing the HF radar operating frequency also has a refraction effect that contributes to the final location of the HF radar echoes.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
Programmes: BAS Programmes > BAS Programmes 2015 > Space Weather and Atmosphere
ISSN: 00486604
Additional Keywords: OI 630.0 nm auroral emission, Open-closed field line boundary, SuperDARN spectral width, HF radio wave propagation, Solar activity, Solar EUV
Date made live: 17 May 2016 14:01 +0 (UTC)

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