EISCAT Svalbard radar observations of SPEAR-induced E- and F-region spectral enhancements in the polar cap ionosphere
- Department of Physics and Astronomy, University of Leicester, University Road, Leicester, LEI 7RH, UK
Abstract. The Space Plasma Exploration by Active Radar (SPEAR) facility has successfully operated in the high-power heater and low-power radar modes and has returned its first results. The high-power results include observations of SPEAR-induced ion and plasma line spectral enhancements recorded by the EISCAT Svalbard UHF incoherent scatter radar system (ESR), which is collocated with SPEAR. These SPEAR-enhanced spectra possess features that are consistent with excitation of both the purely growing mode and the parametric decay instability. In this paper, we present observations of upper and lower E-region SPEAR-induced ion and plasma line enhancements, together with F-region spectral enhancements, which indicate excitation of both instabilities and which are consistent with previous theoretical treatments of instability excitation in sporadic E-layers. In agreement with previous observations, spectra from the lower E-region have the single-peaked form characteristic of collisional plasma. Our observations of the SPEAR-enhanced E-region spectra suggest the presence of variable drifting regions of patchy overdense plasma, which is a finding also consistent with previous results.