Articles | Volume 29, issue 6
22 Jun 2011
 | 22 Jun 2011

Volume cross section of auroral radar backscatter and RMS plasma fluctuations inferred from coherent and incoherent scatter data: a response on backscatter volume parameters

M. V. Uspensky, P. Janhunen, A. V. Koustov, and K. Kauristie

Abstract. Norway and Finland STARE radar measurements in the eastward auroral electrojet are combined with EISCAT CP-1 measurements of the electron density and electric field vector in the common scattering volume to investigate the variation of the auroral radar volume cross section (VCS) with the flow angle of observations (radar look direction with respect to the E×B electron drift). The data set available consists of ~6000 points for flow angles of 40–85° and electron drifts between 500 and 2000 m s−1. The EISCAT electron density N(h)-profile data are used to estimate the effective electron density, aspect angle and thickness of the backscattering layer. It is shown that the flow angle variation of the VCS is rather weak, only ~5 dB within the range of the considered flow angles. The VCS values themselves respond almost linearly to the square of both the electron drift velocity magnitude and the effective electron density. By adopting the inferred shape of the VCS variation with the flow angle and the VCS dependence upon wavelength, the relative amplitude of electrostatic electron density fluctuations over all scales is estimated. Inferred values of 2–4 percent react nearly linearly to the electron drift velocity in the range of 500–1000 m s−1 but the rate of increase slows down at electron drifts >1000 m s−1 and density fluctuations of ~5.5 percent due to, perhaps, progressively growing nonlinear wave losses.