Influence of Sporadic E layers on Mesospheric Na and Fe Layers over Arecibo

Thursday, 18 December 2014
Shikha Raizada1, Craig A Tepley1, Qihou Zhou2, Sumanta Sarkhel3, John D Mathews3, Nestor Aponte1 and Robert Kerr1, (1)Arecibo Observatory, Arecibo, PR, United States, (2)Miami University Oxford, Oxford, OH, United States, (3)Pennsylvania State Univ, University Park, PA, United States
Arecibo offers unique opportunity to investigate the structure of the mesospheric metal layers and their response to Sporadic E as observed by the incoherent scatter radar data. Previous studies have shown higher occurrences of sporadic activity in the neutral Fe layers as compared to Na at mid-latitudes. Other studies demonstrated that Sporadic Na (NaS) layers are more common at low and high latitudes as compared to FeS. It is important to note that case studies based on a few nights of observations are significant as they can shed more light on factors that are important on short term scales. These efforts can also help in evaluation of the role played by these factors in the climatological or global studies.

In this study, we have used two adjacent nights of simultaneous Na and Fe data obtained using resonance lidars at Arecibo, while the co-located Incoherent Scatter Radar (ISR) provides information about Sporadic E (ES). On both the nights (17 and 18 March 2004) ES was observed with electron densities exceeding 3000 electrons/cc. Some interesting observations are worth noting: The Fe main layer (below 90 km) was stronger than the corresponding sporadic layer around 95 km. However, Na data displayed a weaker main layer below 90 km with stronger NaS activity. Hence, the ratio of densities determined within layers of 3 km thickness centered at 97 km and at 87 km are less than 1 for Fe and exceeds 1 in the case of Na. A correlation analysis between Na/Ne and Fe/Ne also displays dissimilarities in the 94-100 km altitude range. An onsite all-sky imager recorded similar wave activities on both the nights with both ripple and band type structures that were observed in the 557.7 nm airglow. We will discuss the dissimilar response of Na and Fe to Sporadic E activity in relation to neutralization lifetimes of their respective ions and their sensitivity to temperatures.