Articles | Volume 22, issue 12
22 Dec 2004
 | 22 Dec 2004

Studies of medium scale travelling ionospheric disturbances using TIGER SuperDARN radar sea echo observations

L.-S. He, P. L. Dyson, M. L. Parkinson, and W. Wan

Abstract. Seasonal and diurnal variations in the direction of propagation of medium-scale travelling ionospheric disturbances (MSTIDs) have been investigated by analyzing sea echo returns detected by the TIGER SuperDARN radar located in Tasmania (43.4° S, 147.2° E geographic; –54.6°Λ). A strong dependency on local time was found, as well as significant seasonal variations. Generally, the propagation direction has a northward (i.e. equatorward) component. In the early morning hours the direction of propagation is quite variable throughout the year. It then becomes predominantly northwest and changes to northeast around 09:00 LT. In late fall and winter it changes back to north/northwest around 15:00 LT. During the other seasons, northward propagation is very obvious near dawn and dusk, but no significant northward propagation is observed at noon.

It is suggested that the variable propagation direction in the morning is related to irregular magnetic disturbances that occur at this local time. The changes in the MSTID propagation directions near dawn and dusk are generally consistent with changes in ionospheric electric fields occurring at these times and is consistent with dayside MSTIDs being generated by the Lorentz force.

Key words. Ionosphere (ionospheric disturbances; wave propagation; ionospheric irregularities; signal processing)