Articles | Volume 23, issue 7
13 Oct 2005
 | 13 Oct 2005

Observations of neutral winds, wind shears, and wave structure during a sporadic-E/QP event

M. F. Larsen, M. Yamamoto, S. Fukao, R. T. Tsunoda, and A. Saito

Abstract. The second Sporadic E Experiment over Kyushu (SEEK-2) was carried out on 3 August 2002, during an active sporadic-E event that also showed quasi-periodic (QP) echoes. Two rockets were launched into the event from Kagoshima Space Center in southern Japan 15 min apart. Both carried a suite of instruments, but the second rocket also released a trimethyl aluminum (TMA) trail to measure the neutral winds and turbulence structure. In a number of earlier measurements in similar conditions, large winds and shears that were either unstable or close to instability were observed in the altitude range where the ionization layer occurred. The SEEK-2 wind measurements showed similar vertical structure, but unlike earlier experiments, there was a significant difference between the up-leg and down-leg wind profiles. In addition, wave or billow-like fluctuations were evident in the up-leg portion of the trail, while the lower portion of the down-leg trail was found to have extremely strong turbulence that led to a rapid break-up of the trail. The large east-west gradient in the winds and the strong turbulence have not been observed before. The wind profiles and shears, as well as the qualitative characteristics of the strong turbulence are presented, along with a discussion of the implications of the dynamical features.

Keywords. Ionosphere (Mid-latitude ionosphere; Ionospheric irregularities; Electric field and currents)