Radio Science

Satellite measurements of ionic concentrations applied to low altitude incoherent scatter interpretations


  • M. R. Torr,

  • R. Harper


The determination of ion and electron temperatures and electron density from incoherent scatter radar data has in the past involved assumptions concerning the ionospheric composition below 250 km. Using a very large data base of measurements of O+, O2+, NO+, and N2+ made by the Atmosphere Explorer C satellite, we have produced a model of the ionic concentration between 130 and 300 km as a function of solar zenith angle. The results of applying this information to the interpretation of the radar observations are compared with those of earlier treatments of the same data. As the effect of the new model is to increase the radar determinations of the temperature, this may explain previous discrepancies between Langmuir probe and incoherent scatter temperatures, where the comparisons have been made at these low altitudes.