Radio Science

Interpretation of equatorial electrojet irregularities observed with a broad beam HF zenithal radar


  • T. Farges,

  • E. Blanc,

  • J. P. Villain


Observations of the equatorial ionosphere were performed in Africa with the radar of the Laboratoire de Détection et de Géophysique near the magnetic equator during the International Equatorial Electrojet Year (1993–1994). This high-resolution zenithal HF radar uses a broad beam antenna, in which complex echo structures are observed. A diversity of irregularities appears in the 100–500 km radar range up to the F region. Some irregularities appear in range-time-intensity diagrams as a parabolic region between 140 and 180 km with a minimum at noon. This region is only observed for radar frequencies between 4 and 5 MHz. At these frequencies, type II irregularities arising from vertical and oblique directions in the 100–140 km range dominate the spectra, and type I irregularities are difficult to clearly identify. Ray tracing and simulations show that type I irregularities are a possible source of the observed parabolic region. Irregularities from the equatorial “150 km region” as observed with the Jicamarca radar appear at slightly higher radar ranges.