First Measurements of Aspect Sensitivity of Polar Mesospheric Summer Echoes by a Bistatic Radar System

Thursday, 18 December 2014
Cesar La Hoz1,2, Henry Pinedo1, Ove Havnes1, Mike J Kosch3, Andrew Senior4 and Michael T Rietveld1,5, (1)University of Tromsø, Tromsø, Norway, (2)Cornell University, Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, Ithaca, NY, United States, (3)South African National Space Agency, Hermanus, South Africa, (4)University of Lancaster, Lancaster, United Kingdom, (5)EISCAT Scientific Association Tromsø, Ramfjordbotn, Norway
Polar Mesospheric Summer Echoes (PMSE) have been observed for the first time by a bistatic radar system comprising the EISCAT VHF (224 MHz) active radar in Tromso (Norway) and the receiving EISCAT_3D demonstrator array located in Kiruna, (Sweden). The receiving system is 234 km southeast from the transmitting radar and its line of sight to the mesosphere above Tromso has an elevation angle of 21 degrees implying an aspect angle of the scattered signals in that direction of 69 degrees. This is the first time that a truly bistatic configuration has been employed to measure the angle dependence of the scattering mechanism of PMSE which otherwise has been measured only in monostatic configurations. The bistatic configuration is unencumbered by drawbacks of the monostatic configuration that cannot reach angles greater than about 20 degrees due to antenna beam pattern degradation and the use of models to extrapolate the angle dependence of the scattered signals. Strong scattering was observed over prolonged periods on several days by the demonstrator array in July of 2011. These measurements are at variance with previous aspect angle measurements that have reported aspect angles no greater than about 15 degrees. These results indicate that the turbulent irregularities that produce the scattering have a high degree of isotropy, which is more in line with Kolmogorov's hypothesis of a universal scaling of turbulence based on the assumption of homogeneity and isotropy in the inertial regime of turbulence which applies also to the Batchelor regime (due to large Schmidt numbers) believed to be the case for PMSE.