Equatorial 150 km echoes and daytime F region vertical plasma drifts in the Brazilian longitude sector
Abstract. Previous studies showed that conventional coherent backscatter radar measurements of the Doppler velocity of the so-called 150 km echoes can provide an alternative way of estimating ionospheric vertical plasma drifts during daytime hours (Kudeki and Fawcett, 1993; Chau and Woodman, 2004). Using observations made by a small, low-power 30 MHz coherent backscatter radar located in the equatorial site of São Luís (2.59° S, 44.21° W; −2.35° dip lat), we were able to detect and monitor the occurrence of 150 km echoes in the Brazilian sector. Using these measurements we estimated the local time variation of daytime vertical ionospheric drifts in the eastern American sector. Here, we present a few interesting cases of 150 km-echoes observations made by the São Luís radar and estimates of the diurnal variation of vertical drifts. These cases exemplify the variability of the vertical drifts in the Brazilian sector. Using same-day 150 km-echoes measurements made at the Jicamarca Radio Observatory in Peru, we also demonstrate the variability of the equatorial vertical drifts across the American sector. In addition to first estimates of the absolute vertical plasma drifts in the eastern American (Brazilian) sector, we also present observations of abnormal drifts detected by the São Luís radar associated with the 2009 major sudden stratospheric warming event.