Interference of tidal and gravity waves in the ionosphere and an associated sporadic E-layer

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Observations made on 10 July 1987 with the EISCAT UHF radar are presented. The F-region measurements of both electron density and field-aligned ion velocity show that an upward propagating gravity wave with a period of about 1 h is present. The origin of the gravity wave is probably auroral. The E-region ion velocities show a tidal wave and both upward and downward propagating gravity waves. The gravity waves have three dominant periods with a possible harmonic relationship and similar vertical wavelengths. These waves are either reflected at a single reflection level, ducted between two levels, or they are generated in a non-linear interaction between gravity and tidal waves. The E-region electron density is dominated by particle precipitation. After a short burst of more intense precipitation, a sporadic E-layer forms at 105km and then disappears 40min later. Within this time, the layer rises and falls by a few kilometres, following closely the motion of a convergent null in the velocity profile. We suggest that the formation and destruction of this layer is controlled by both the precipitation, which indirectly provides a source of metal ions through charge exchange, and the superposition of gravity waves and the tidal wave. © 1990.




Nygrén, T., Lanchester, B. S., Huuskonen, A., Jalonen, L., Turunen, T., Rishbeth, H., & Van Eyken, A. P. (1990). Interference of tidal and gravity waves in the ionosphere and an associated sporadic E-layer. Journal of Atmospheric and Terrestrial Physics, 52(6–8).

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