HF radar signatures of the cusp and low-latitude boundary layer


  • K. B. Baker,

  • J. R. Dudeney,

  • R. A. Greenwald,

  • M. Pinnock,

  • P. T. Newell,

  • A. S. Rodger,

  • N. Mattin,

  • C.-I. Meng


Continuous ground-based observations of ionospheric and magnetospheric regions are critical to the Geospace Environment Modeling (GEM) program. It is therefore important to establish clear intercalibrations between different ground-based instruments and satellites in order to clearly place the ground-based observations in context with the corresponding in situ satellite measurements. HF-radars operating at high latitudes are capable of observing very large spatial regions of the ionosphere on a nearly continuous basis. In this paper we report on an intercalibration study made using the Polar Anglo-American Conjugate Radar Experiment radars located at Goose Bay, Labrador, and Halley Station, Antarctica, and the Defense Meteorological Satellite Program (DMSP) satellites. The DMSP satellite data are used to provide clear identifications of the ionospheric cusp and the low-latitude boundary layer (LLBL). The radar data for eight cusp events and eight LLBL events have been examined in order to determine a radar signature of these ionospheric regions. This intercalibration indicates that the cusp is always characterized by wide, complex Doppler power spectra, whereas the LLBL is usually found to have spectra dominated by a single component. The distribution of spectral widths in the cusp is of a generally Gaussian form with a peak at about 220 m/s. The distribution of spectral widths in the LLBL is more like an exponential distribution, with the peak of the distribution occurring at about 50 m/s. There are a few cases in the LLBL where the Doppler power spectra are strikingly similar to those observed in the cusp.