The possibility of using all-sky meteor radar to observe ionospheric E-region field-aligned irregularities
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All-sky meteor radars are primarily used for meteor observations. This paper reports the first observations of ionospheric E-region field-aligned irregularities (FAIs) from a conventional all-sky meteor radar located at Wuhan (31°N, 114°E) for the period of March–June 2018. E-region FAI echoes evident in range-time intensity (RTI) maps show quasiperiodic striations with positive and negative slopes, which are consistent with multiple FAI structures moving across the wide beam of the meteor radar. A statistical analysis shows that out of a total of 111 d, there are 73 d with E-region FAI echoes detected by the meteor radar. The FAI events correspond well with the presence of sporadic-E layers which provide the necessary plasma density gradient for the development of gradient drift instability producing FAIs. The results demonstrate the capability of conventional meteor radars to make simultaneous routine observations of meteors and ionospheric E-region FAIs through incorporating RTI and spectral analysis into the online realtime data processing. Meteor radar observations could potentially address the limitations of ionospheric radars, which cannot provide simultaneous measurements of neutral winds and irregularity structures, and thereby contribute to better understanding of the dynamical processes producing E-region irregularities.
Keywordsmeteor radar ionospheric irregularities sporadic E layer
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