Influence of magnetospheric processes on winter HF radar spectra characteristics
Abstract. This study investigates further the relationship between regions of the magnetosphere and the characteristics of HF radar Doppler spectra recorded in the ionospheric projection of those regions. It builds on earlier work, which has reported a relationship between the Doppler spectral width and the ionospheric projection of the magnetospheric cusp region, by introducing novel techniques for classifying the Doppler spectra recorded by the SuperDARN radars. We first review the geophysical factors that can condition the characteristics of the autocorrelation function (ACF) data produced by the radars. This leads to a classification scheme of the ACF data which is then applied to a large database compiled from winter data taken by the Northern Hemisphere Super-DARN radars. This statistical study shows that the ACF characteristics are not randomly distributed in space, but rather are spatially organized in the ionosphere. This paper suggests that these regions are ordered primarily by the low energy (<approx> 1 keV) electron precipitation region and the presence of intense ULF wave activity.
Key words. Ionosphere (auroral ionosphere; ionosphere-magnetosphere interactions; plasma convection)