Middle and upper atmosphere radar observations of ionospheric density gradients produced by gravity wave packets


  • W. L. Oliver,

  • S. Fukao,

  • Y. Yamamoto,

  • T. Takami,

  • M. D. Yamanaka,

  • M. Yamamoto,

  • T. Nakamura,

  • T. Tsuda


By observing the ionospheric F region simultaneously in multiple beams with the middle and upper atmosphere (MU) radar, we have been able to track the passage of gravity waves and measure the horizontal electron density gradients that they produce. Our previous work on this topic, on one day of observations, verified that the gradient structure and fluctuations were consistent with a gravity wave source. The present work (1) looks at several days of observation to confirm the routine existence of these gradient structures; (2) identifies individual wave packets; (3) finds evidence that long trains of gravity wave fluctuations are composed of several juxtaposed wave packets of one or two cycles each rather than a single wave of many cycles; (4) finds that during quiet periods strong waves are present only during the daytime, but during disturbed periods they are present day and night; and (5) notes several other characterizations.