Imaging of Polar Mesosphere Summer Echoes with the 450 MHz Poker Flat Advanced Modular Incoherent Scatter Radar

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Abstract

[1] Polar Mesosphere Summer Echoes (PMSE) occur near the mesopause during the polar summer months. PMSE are primarily studied at VHF, however there have been some detections at higher frequencies. Here, we report on some of the first detections of PMSE with the 450 MHz (67 cm) Poker Flat Advanced Modular Incoherent Scatter Radar (PFISR). Echoes were observed with volume reflectivities (radar scattering cross section per unit volume) near 2–3 × 10−17 m−1. On 11 June 2007, PFISR was operating in a 26-beam position mode, with look directions spread over an approximately 80 by 80 km2 region at 85 km altitude with elevation angles as low as ∼50°. The measurements showed patchy (tens of kilometer) irregularity regions drifting in from the north, in addition to smaller, more localized structures. There was no evidence for strong aspect sensitivity of these UHF echoes, as PMSE was observed in all look directions with relatively uniform intensity. The observations indicate the presence of fossilized irregularities drifting with the background wind field as well as areas of developing irregularities possibly associated with the presence of active neutral air turbulence.

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