HF radar observations of high-aspect angle backscatter from the E-region
Abstract. We present evidence for the observation of high-aspect angle HF radar backscatter from the auroral electrojets, and describe the spectral characteristics of these echoes. Such backscatter is observed at very near ranges where ionospheric refraction is not sufficient to bring the sounding radio waves to orthogonality with the magnetic field; the frequency dependence of this propagation effect is investigated with the Stereo upgrade of the CUTLASS Iceland radar. We term the occurrence of such echoes the "high-aspect angle irregularity region" or HAIR. It is suggested that backscatter is observed at aspect angles as high as 30°, with an aspect sensitivity as low as 1dB deg–1. These echoes are distinguished from normal electrojet backscatter by having low Doppler shifts with an azimuthal dependence that appears more consistent with the direction of the convection electric field than with the expected electron drift direction. This is discussed in terms of the linear theory dispersion relation for electrojet waves.
Key words. Ionosphere (ionospheric irregularities; plasma waves and instabilities; auroral ionosphere)