Remote Oxygen Sensing by Ionospheric Excitation (ROSIE)
Abstract. The principal optical observable emission resulting from ionospheric modification (IM) experiments is the atomic oxygen red line at 630 nm, originating from the O(1D–3P) transition. Because the O(1D) atom has a long radiative lifetime, it is sensitive to collisional relaxation and an observed decay faster than the radiative rate can be attributed to collisions with atmospheric species. In contrast to the common practice of ignoring O-atoms in interpreting such observations in the past, recent experimental studies on the relaxation of O(1D) by O(3P) have revealed the dominant role of oxygen atoms in controlling the lifetime of O(1D) at altitudes relevant to IM experiments. Using the most up-to-date rate coefficients for collisional relaxation of O(1D) by O, N2, and O2, it is now possible to analyze the red line decays observed in IM experiments and thus probe the local ionospheric composition. In this manner, we can demonstrate an approach to remotely detect O-atoms at the altitudes relevant to IM experiments, which we call remote oxygen sensing by ionospheric excitation (ROSIE). The results can be compared with atmospheric models and used to study the temporal, seasonal, altitude and spatial variation of ionospheric O-atom density in the vicinity of heating facilities. We discuss the relevance to atmospheric observations and ionospheric heating experiments and report an analysis of representative IM data.