Articles | Volume 18, issue 9
Ann. Geophys., 18, 1182–1196, 2000

Special issue: IXe EISCAT

Ann. Geophys., 18, 1182–1196, 2000

  30 Sep 2000

30 Sep 2000

More evidence for a planetary wave link with midlatitude E region coherent backscatter and sporadic E layers

M. Voiculescu1, C. Haldoupis2, D. Pancheva3, M. Ignat4, K. Schlegel5, and S. Shalimov6 M. Voiculescu et al.
  • 1Physics Department, University of Galati, Galati, Romania
  • 2Physics Department, University of Crete, Iraklion, Crete, Greece
  • 3The Department of Physics, University of Wales, Aberystwyth, Wales, UK
  • 4Physics Department, University of Iasi, Iasi, Romania
  • 5Max-Planck Institut fur Aeronomie, Katlenburg-Lindau, Germany
  • 6Institute of Physics of the Earth, Moscow, Russia

Abstract. Measurements of midlatitude E region coherent backscatter obtained during four summers with SESCAT, a 50 MHz Doppler system operating in Crete, Greece, and concurrent ionosonde recordings from the same ionospheric volume obtained with a CADI for one of these summers, are used to analyse the long-term variability in echo and Es occurrence. Echo and Es layer occurrences, computed in percent of time over a 12-h nighttime interval, take the form of time sequences. Linear power spectrum analysis shows that there are dominant spectral peaks in the range of 2–9 days, the most commonly observed periods appearing in two preferential bands, of 2–3 days and 4–7 days. No connection with geomagnetic activity was found. The characteristics of these periodicities compare well with similar properties of planetary waves, which suggests the possibility that planetary waves are responsible for the observed long-term periodicities. These findings indicate also a likely close relation between planetary wave (PW) activity and the well known but not well understood seasonal Es dependence. To test the PW postulation, we used simultaneous neutral wind data from the mesopause region around 95 km, measured from Collm, Germany. Direct comparison of the long-term periodicities in echo and Es layer occurrence with those in the neutral wind show some reasonable agreement. This new evidence, although not fully conclusive, is the first direct indication in favour of a planetary wave role on the unstable midlatitude E region ionosphere. Our results suggest that planetary waves observation is a viable option and a new element into the physics of midlatitude Es layers that needs to be considered and investigated.

Key words: Ionosphere (ionosphere irregularities; mid-latitude ionosphere) – Meteorology and atmospheric dynamics (waves and tides)

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