Comparisons of techniques for measurement of D-region electron densities


  • C. F. Sechrist Jr.


This paper reviews the ground-based and rocket techniques that are presently being used to determine electron density profiles in the ionospheric D region. Ground-based techniques include VLF, LF, and MF sounding, differential absorption and differential phase using partial reflections, wave interaction, and incoherent scatter. Rocket techniques include differential absorption and Faraday rotation in association with high-resolution dc probes calibrated by means of the radio measurements. The characteristics of the aforementioned techniques are presented, including time and height resolution, accuracy estimates, preferred height ranges, and problems encountered. Electron density profiles obtained with these techniques are presented for comparable solar zenith angles and undisturbed solar and geophysical conditions, and variances are described.