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The effects of high frequency ULF wave activity on the spectral characteristics of coherent HF radar returns: a case study

By D. M. Wright, Tim K. Yeoman and E. E. Woodfield


It is now a common practice to employ ground-based radars in an attempt to distinguish between those regions of the Earth's upper atmosphere which are magnetically conjugate to open and closed magnetic field lines. Radar returns from ionospheric irregularities inside the polar cap and cusp regions generally exhibit large spectral widths in contrast to those which exist on closed field lines at lower latitudes. It has been suggested that the so-called Spectral Width Boundary (SWB) might act as a proxy for the open-closed field line boundary (OCFLB), which would then be an invaluable tool for investigating reconnection rates in the magnetosphere. The exact cause of the increased spectral widths observed at very high latitudes is still subject to considerable debate. Several mechanisms have been proposed. This paper compares a dusk-sector interval of coherent HF radar data with measurements made by an induction coil magnetometer located at Tromsø, Norway (66° N geomagnetic). On this occasion, a number of equatorward excursions of the SWB in the radar backscatter are accompanied by increases in spectral power of ULF waves in the Pc1-2 frequency band as the SWB passes overhead. Thus, these observations support the possibility that high-frequency magnetospheric wave activity at least contribute to the observed spectral characteristics and that such wave activity might play a significant role in the nightside ionosphere

Topics: Ionosphere (auroral ionosphere), Magnetospheric physics (MHD waves and instabilities), Radio science (ionospheric physics)
Year: 2004
DOI identifier: 10.5194/angeo-22-1843-2004
OAI identifier:

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