Equatorial spread F irregularity characteristics over São Luís, Brazil, using VHF radar and GPS scintillation techniques



[1] Multitechnique observations may considerably improve our understanding of factors responsible for the generation, growth, and dynamics of the destabilized nighttime equatorial F region plasma irregularities. In order to investigate the dynamics of plasma density irregularities of different scale sizes, a campaign of observations was conducted during 11–20 November 2001 at the Brazilian magnetic equatorial station São Luís (2.57°S, 44.21°W, dip latitude 1.73°S). We carried out observations using VHF coherent backscatter radar, two spaced GPS-based scintillation monitors, and one digisonde. Range type spread F on ionograms and radar plume signatures on range-time-intensity maps of the VHF radar started at similar times. In order to compare GPS L1 (1.575 GHz) scintillations and radar plumes we used the scintillation S4 index computed for the signal transmitted by the highest elevation satellite. GPS scintillations were not observed during the initial bottom-type layer shown by the radar; however, stronger scintillations (higher S4 values) were observed concurrently to stronger radar echoes. Although the time duration of GPS scintillation is longer than the duration of the plumes observed by the radar, ionosonde spread F is still much longer than scintillation occurrence, confirming that smaller scale-size irregularities decay faster. Zonal and vertical velocities of 5-m irregularities measured by the radar were analyzed jointly with the apparent zonal velocity of ∼400-m irregularities measured by the spaced-receiver scintillation method. Larger values of the zonal velocity measured by the scintillation technique were found during the explosive growth phase of radar plumes associated with large values of vertical drifts measured by the radar.