Articles | Volume 26, issue 8
05 Aug 2008
 | 05 Aug 2008

New incoherent scatter diagnostic methods for the heated D-region ionosphere

A. Kero, J. Vierinen, C.-F. Enell, I. Virtanen, and E. Turunen

Abstract. A new incoherent scatter (IS) diagnostic technique for the actively heated D-region ionosphere is presented. In this approach, an exponential autocorrelation function (ACF) was fitted to the data by using a Markov Chain Monte Carlo (MCMC) inversion and the Sodankylä Ion Chemistry model (SIC). The method was applied for a set of combined EISCAT heating and VHF radar experiments carried out in November 2006. A newly designed radar experiment, sippi, based on optimised phase codes and direct sampling of the transmitted and the received IS signal, was used to produce ACF estimates of the target plasma. Systematic features associated with the heating were found by comparing the mean ACFs corresponding to heated and unheated periods. However, the data analysis revealed reasonable electron temperature estimates at the altitudes of the expected maximum effect (70–75 km) only in three cases out of six, corresponding to the highest signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) conditions. In two of these cases, the electron temperature was increased by a factor of 5 to 7, which is in a good agreement with the theoretical heating modelling. In the case of the first presented data example, the model overestimates the effect. These are the first successful IS observations of the HF-induced maximum electron temperature enhancements in the D-region ionosphere.