• Observations Of Metal Concentrations In E-Region Sporadic Thin Layers Using Incoherent-Scatter Radar

      Suzuki, Nobuhiro; Watkins, Brenton (2006)
      This thesis has used incoherent-scatter radar data from the facility at Sondrestrom, Greenland to determine the ion mass values inside thin sporadic-E layers in the lower ionosphere. Metallic positively-charged ions of meteoric origin are deposited in the earth's upper atmosphere over a height range of about 85-120 km. Electric fields and neutral-gas (eg N2, O, O2) winds at high latitudes may produce convergent ion dynamics that results in the re-distribution of the background altitude distribution of the ions to form thin (1-3 km) high-density layers that are detectable with radar. A large database of experimental radar observations has been processed to determine ion mass values inside these thin ion layers. The range resolution of the radar was 600 meters that permitted mass determinations at several altitude steps within the layers. Near the lower edge of the layers the ion mass values were in the range 20-25 amu while at the top portion of the layers the mass values were generally in the range 30-40 amu. The numerical values are consistent with in-situ mass spectrometer data obtained by other researchers that suggest these layers are mainly composed of a mixture or Mg +, Si+, and Fe + ions. The small tendency for heavier ions to reside at the top portion of the layers is consistent with theory. The results have also found new evidence for the existence of complex-shaped multiple layers; the examples studied suggest similar ion mass values in different layers that in some cases are separated in altitude by several km.