• Classification and signal processing of radio backscatter from meteors

      Klemm, Jared; Thorsen, Denise; Bossert, Katrina; Collins, Richard; Mayer, Charlie (2019-12)
      Ground-based radar systems are routinely used to detect the trails of ionized particles that are formed by meteoroids falling through Earth's atmosphere. The most common use for these meteor radar systems is for atmospheric wind studies of the mesosphere and lower thermosphere (80-100 km altitude). Because these meteor trails are embedded in the background winds of the middle atmosphere, atmospheric winds in that region can be measured by observing the radial velocities of the trails. There has also been a considerable amount of research over the last few decades into estimation of neutral atmospheric temperatures using the measured decay time of meteor trails. Several methods exist for estimating atmospheric temperature using meteor radar observations, but there are limitations to these approaches. This thesis focuses on examining aspects of meteor radar signal and data processing, specifically interferometry and echo classification. Interferometry using the measured signal phase differences between antennas allows for the location of meteor trails to be unambiguously determined. Classification schemes are used to identify which echoes can be modeled as underdense meteors, overdense meteors, or other potentially non-meteor echoes. Finally, based on the proposed classification scheme, this thesis examines several temperature estimation methods for both underdense and overdense echoes and discusses the current issues in this area. Preliminary results from a newly installed meteor radar at Poker Flat Research Range are also presented.