The influence of the interplanetary medium on SuperDARN radar scattering occurrence
Abstract. The effects of the characteristics of the interplanetary medium on the radar scattering occurrence, related to the whole array of SuperDARN radars installed in the Northern Hemisphere, have been studied over a two-year period. Statistically significant correlations of the variation of the scattering occurrence are found with the merging electric field and with the negative Bz component of the interplanetary magnetic field, independent of the seasonal period considered. This result demonstrates that the merging rate (and in particular the reconnection process) between the interplanetary magnetic field and the magnetosphere is a relevant factor affecting the occurrence of scattering. For comparison, we note that no statistically significant correlations are obtained when the interplanetary ion density or the solar wind speed are considered, although also these variables affect to a small degree the scattering occurrence variation. The study of the latitudinal and magnetic local time dependence of the observations shows an association between the considered correlation and the location of the auroral oval and the cusp/cleft region.
Key words: Ionosphere (ionospheric irregularities) · Magnetospheric physics (solar wind-magnetosphere interactions) · Radio science (ionospheric physics)