Three-dimensional tracking of mid-latitude quasi-periodic E-region echoes observed with the Chung-Li VHF radar
Abstract. This paper presents observations of low-altitude mid-latitude E-region irregularities obtained with the 52-MHz Chung-Li VHF radar. These are carried out in the interferometer mode to investigate the behavior of these irregularities over time and space. The observations presented here show the characteristics of type-II echoes noted by a negative slope, i.e. they are approaching the radar as a function of time. The range-time-intensity (RTI) plots obtained through power spectrum analysis reveal the quasi-periodic striations, which are known as LQP (Low-altitude QP) echoes. Our interferometer analysis allows one to investigate the motion (i.e. "tracking") of the LQP echo patches in three dimensions. This method is superior to just evaluating the variations of the echo power as a function of range and time in the standard RTI-plots. By applying this method, we show that the echo patches in different striations remain at almost the same altitude when we trace the isolated echoing regions until they disappear from the radar view. We further compare the rate of change of the range (range rate dR/dt) by two techniques: one by simply measuring the varying slope of the LQP echoes from RTI plot, the other by tracking the three-dimensional locations of the LQP scatterers by using the interferometer technique. We finally prove that the changes in range as a function of time, deduced from the interferometer technique, are significantly correlated with those of the standard range rate analysis. However, the standard range rate analysis does not provide information about the correct location and the variation of the LQP irregularities. The three-dimensional analysis, which we introduced for tracking individual striations, shows that LQP echo patches are confined to between 98 and 100km altitude. This suggests that the irregularities which cause the LQP echoes drifted through the radar beam at approximately constant altitude, which we tend to attribute to a region of large-scale vertical shear of the horizontal wind.