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Annales Geophysicae An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Volume 26, issue 11
Ann. Geophys., 26, 3355-3364, 2008
https://doi.org/10.5194/angeo-26-3355-2008
© Author(s) 2008. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

Special issue: The Spread F Experiment (SpreadFEx): Coupling from the lower...

Ann. Geophys., 26, 3355-3364, 2008
https://doi.org/10.5194/angeo-26-3355-2008
© Author(s) 2008. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

  21 Oct 2008

21 Oct 2008

Coherent backscatter radar imaging in Brazil: large-scale waves in the bottomside F-region at the onset of equatorial spread F

F. S. Rodrigues1,*, D. L. Hysell1, and E. R. de Paula2 F. S. Rodrigues et al.
  • 1Cornell University, Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, 2122 Snee Hall, Ithaca, NY, 14853, USA
  • 2Instituto Nacional de Pesquisas Espaciais (INPE), P.O. Box 515, São José dos Campos, SP, Brazil
  • *now at: ASTRA, 12703 Spectrum Drive 101, San Antonio, TX, 78249, USA

Abstract. The 30 MHz coherent backscatter radar located at the equatorial observatory in São Luís, Brazil (2.59° S, 44.21° W, −2.35° dip lat) has been upgraded to perform coherent backscatter radar imaging. The wide field-of-view of this radar makes it well suited for radar imaging studies of ionospheric irregularities. Radar imaging observations were made in support to the spread F Experiment (SpreadFEx) campaign. This paper describes the system and imaging technique and presents results from a bottom-type layer that preceded fully-developed radar plumes on 25 October 2005. The radar imaging technique was able to resolve decakilometric structures within the bottom-type layer. These structures indicate the presence of large-scale waves (~35 km) in the bottomside F-region with phases that are alternately stable and unstable to wind-driven gradient drift instabilities. The observations suggest that these waves can also cause the initial perturbation necessary to initiate the Generalized Rayleigh-Taylor instability leading to spread F. The electrodynamic conditions and the scale length of the bottom-type layer structures suggest that the waves were generated by the collisional shear instability. These results indicate that monitoring bottom-type layers may provide helpful diagnostics for spread F forecasting.

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