Eddy turbulence parameters inferred from radar observations at Jicamarca
- 1School of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Cornell University, 320 Rhodes Hall, Ithaca, New York, 14853, USA
- 2Department of Earth and Atmospheric Science, Cornell University, 2108 Snee Hall, Ithaca, New York, 14853, USA
Abstract. Significant electron density striations, neutral temperatures 27 K above nominal, and intense wind shear were observed in the E-region ionosphere over the Jicamarca Radio Observatory during an unusual event on 26 July 2005 (Hysell et al., 2007). In this paper, these results are used to estimate eddy turbulence parameters and their effects. Models for the thermal balance in the mesosphere/lower thermosphere and the charged particle density in the E region are developed here. The thermal balance model includes eddy conduction and viscous dissipation of turbulent energy as well as cooling by infrared radiation. The production and recombination of ions and electrons in the E region, together with the production and transport of nitric oxide, are included in the plasma density model. Good agreement between the model results and the experimental data is obtained for an eddy diffusion coefficient of about 1×103 m2/s at its peak, which occurs at an altitude of 107 km. This eddy turbulence results in a local maximum of the temperature in the upper mesosphere/lower thermosphere and could correspond either to an unusually high mesopause or to a double mesosphere. Although complicated by plasma dynamic effects and ongoing controversy, our interpretation of Farley-Buneman wave phase velocity (Hysell et al., 2007) is consistent with a low Brunt-Väisälä frequency in the region of interest. Nitric oxide transport due to eddy diffusion from the lower thermosphere to the mesosphere causes electron density changes in the E region whereas NO density modulation due to irregularities in the eddy diffusion coefficient creates variability in the electron density.