Articles | Volume 23, issue 3
Ann. Geophys., 23, 1071–1073, 2005
Ann. Geophys., 23, 1071–1073, 2005

  30 Mar 2005

30 Mar 2005

Letter to the Editior
Testing the hypothesis of the influence of neutral turbulence on the deduction of ambipolar diffusivities from meteor trail expansion

C. M. Hall1, T. Aso2, M. Tsutsumi2, S. Nozawa3, A. H. Manson4, and C. E. Meek4 C. M. Hall et al.
  • 1Tromsø Geophysical Observatory, University of Tromsø, N-9037 Tromsø, Norway
  • 2National Institute of Polar Research, 1-9-10 Kaga, Itabashi, Tokyo 173-8515, Japan
  • 3STELab, Nagoya University Chikusa-ku, Nagoya 464-01, Japan
  • 4Inst. of Space and Atmospheric Studies, Univ. of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan S7N 5E2, Canada

Abstract. Fading times of radar echoes from underdense meteor trails in the upper mesosphere/lower thermosphere are commonly used to determine ambipolar diffusivities and hence ambient temperature. Diffusivities are generally expected to increase exponentially with height through the region from which the meteor trail echoes are obtained, viz., typically 70-110km altitude for a ~30-MHz radar. In practice, however, this is more the exception: unexpectedly large diffusivities are obtained in the lower part of the regime, and unexpectedly low values are obtained in the upper part; only in the few kilometres on either side of the maximum in echo occurrence (viz., 90km for a 30-MHz radar) does the diffusivity profile behave as expected. Hall (2002) hypothesised that neutral turbulence might be enhancing expansion of the meteor trail in the lower part of the regime. In this communication, due to results only available since the publication of Hall's suggestion, we are able to refute the hypothesis.