Articles | Volume 27, issue 9
01 Sep 2009
 | 01 Sep 2009

First simultaneous lidar observations of sodium layers and VHF radar observations of E-region field-aligned irregularities at the low-latitude station Gadanki

S. Sridharan, A. K. Patra, N. Venkateswara Rao, and G. Ramkumar

Abstract. Simultaneous observations of atmospheric sodium (Na) made by a resonance lidar and E-region field-aligned-irregularities (FAI) made by the Indian MST radar, both located at Gadanki (13.5° N, 79.2° E) and horizontal winds acquired by a SKiYMET meteor radar at Trivandrum (8.5° N, 77° E) are used to investigate the relationship among sodium layer, FAI and neutral winds in the mesosphere and lower thermosphere region. The altitudes and descent rates of higher altitude (~95 km) Na layer and FAI agree quite well. The descending structures of the higher altitude Na layer and FAI are found to be closely related to the diurnal tidal phase structure in zonal winds observed over Trivandrum. At lower altitudes, the descent rate of FAI is larger than that of Na layer and zonal tidal phase. These observations support the hypothesis that the metallic ion layers are formed by the zonal wind shear associated with tidal winds and subsequently get neutralized to manifest in the form of descending Na layers. The descending FAI echoing layers are manifestation of the instabilities setting in on the ionization layer. In the present observations, the altitudes of occurrence of Na layer and FAI echoes being low, we surmise that it is quite possible that the FAI echoes are due to the descent of already formed irregularities at higher altitudes.