Temporal evolution of radar echoes associated with mesospheric dust clouds after turn-on of radio wave heating

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Abstract

[1] The initial perturbation of polar mesospheric summer echoes PMSEs during radio wave heating provides significant diagnostic information about the charged dust layer associated with the irregularity source region. Comparison between the results of computational models and the observation data can be used as a tool to estimate charged dust layer parameters. An analytical model is developed and compared to a more accurate computational model as a reference to investigate the possibilities for diagnostic information as well as insight into the physical processes after heater turn-on. During radio wave heating of the mesosphere, which modifies the background electron temperature, various temporal evolution characteristics of irregularity amplitude may be observed which depend on the background plasma parameters and the characteristics of the dust layer. Turn-on overshoot due to the dominant electron charging process and turn-on undershoot resulting from the dominant ambipolar diffusion process, that can occur simultaneously at different radar frequencies, have been studied. The maximum and minimum of the electron density irregularity amplitude and the time at which this amplitude has been achieved as well as the decay time of irregularity amplitude after the maximum amplitude are unique observables that can shed light on the physical processes after the turn-on of the pump heating and to diagnose the charged dust layer. The agreement between the computational and analytical results are good and indicate the simplified analytical model may be used to provide considerable insight into the heating process and serve as the basis for a diagnostic model after heater turn-on. Moreover, the work proposes that conducting PMSE active experiments in the HF and VHF band simultaneously may allow estimation of the dust density altitude profile, dust charge state variation during pump heating, and ratio of electron temperature enhancement in the irregularity source region.

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