• A Search For Thermospheric Composition Perturbations Due To Vertical Winds

      Krynicki, Matthew P.; Conde, Mark (2006)
      The thermosphere is generally in hydrostatic equilibrium, with winds blowing horizontally along stratified constant-pressure surfaces, driven by the dayside-to-nightside pressure gradient. A marked change in this paradigm resulted after Spencer et al. [1976] reported vertical wind measurements of 80 m·s-1 from analyses of AE-C satellite data. It is now established that the thermosphere routinely supports large-magnitude (~30-150 m·s-1) vertical winds at auroral latitudes. These vertical winds represent significant departure from hydrostatic and diffusive equilibrium, altering locally---and potentially globally---the thermosphere's and ionosphere's composition, chemistry, thermodynamics and energy budget. Because of their localized nature, large-magnitude vertical wind effects are not entirely known. This thesis presents ground-based Fabry-Perot Spectrometer OI(630.0)-nm observations of upper-thermospheric vertical winds obtained at Inuvik, NT, Canada and Poker Flat, AK. The wind measurements are compared with vertical displacement estimates at ~104 km2 horizontal spatial scales determined from a new modification to the electron transport code of Lummerzheim and Lilensten [1994] as applied to FUV-wavelength observations by POLAR spacecraft's Ultraviolet Imager [Torr et al. , 1995]. The modification, referred to as the column shift, simulates vertical wind effects such as neutral transport and disruption of diffusive equilibrium by vertically displacing the Hedin [1991] MSIS-90 [O2]/[N2] and [O]/([N2]+[O2]) mixing ratios and subsequently redistributing the O, O2, and N 2 densities used in the transport code. Column shift estimates are inferred from comparisons of UVI OI(135.6)-nm auroral observations to their corresponding modeled emission. The modeled OI(135.6)-nm brightness is determined from the modeled thermospheric response to electron precipitation and estimations of the energy flux and characteristic energy of the precipitation, which are inferred from UVI-observed Lyman-Birge-Hopfield N2 emissions in two wavelength ranges. Two-dimensional column shift maps identify the spatial morphology of thermospheric composition perturbations associated with auroral forms relative to the model thermosphere. Case-study examples and statistical analyses of the column shift data sets indicate that column shifts can be attributed to vertical winds. Unanticipated limitations associated with modeling of the OI(135.6)-nm auroral emission make absolute column shift estimates indeterminate. Insufficient knowledge of thermospheric air-parcel time histories hinders interpretations of point-to-point time series comparisons between column shifts and vertical winds.
    • An investigation of small-scale relationships between optical and HF radar aurora

      Besser, Veronika; Smith, Roger (2000)
      An investigation is undertaken of the relationship between visual aurora and the occurrence of radar-detectable irregularities in the nightside ionosphere. Understanding how auroral signatures appear in HF radar backscatter could combine the advantages of detailed information about auroral fluxes in optical measurements with extended coverage of HF radars. Auroral particle precipitation ionizes the ionosphere and creates localized plasma density enhancements. Irregularities with various smaller sizes are generated from larger density structures through instability-induced cascading. HF waves are coherently scattered by decameter structures within the ionospheric plasma. Hence aurorally induced irregularities can be seen by the radar in the form of "HF radar aurora." A statistical treatment of the occurrence of optical and HF radar aurora reveals a high degree of variability in backscatter patterns even under seemingly similar auroral displays. The small-scale correspondence between visual aurora and HF backscatter thus represents a more differentiated picture than the spatially and temporally averaged data of earlier studies. The relationship between the occurrence or the characteristics of aurora and the occurrence of HF echoes can therefore not be quantified. An analysis of single events isolates processes that lead to the observed variety of backscatter patterns in the presence of aurorally induced irregularities. They involve the ambient ionospheric density and localized enhanced densities at different altitude regimes and locations in the path of the radar signal. Conditions for HF wave propagation are partly determined by the aurora itself, partly they are imposed by ambient ionospheric density levels. It is found that low or high ambient densities have a dominating effect on the success of ionospheric probing. Low densities hamper the return of radar signals despite the presence of irregularities. High ambient densities can overcome some of the adverse effects on HF wave propagation associated with sporadic E. The information contained in the diversity of the relationships between optical and HF backscatter improves thus our knowledge about the nighttime ionosphere. A more detailed specification of ionospheric parameters is necessary to gain better insight into these relationships.
    • Electromagnetic scattering by spheroidal particles: Applications to the atmosphere

      Eide, Hans Arthur; Stamnes, Knut (2000)
      An efficient and reliable method is presented for computing the expansion coefficients in the eigenfunction series representing the prolate and oblate spheroidal functions. While the traditional method is based on recurrence relations, infinite continued fractions, and a variational procedure, the new method is based on reformulating the computational task as an eigenvalue problem. In contrast with the traditional method, the new method requires no initial estimates of the eigenvalues, and the computations can be performed using readily available computer library routines. The new method is shown to produce accurate expansion coefficients for the spheroidal functions required to study scattering by particles with a wide range of shapes, sizes, and complex refractive indices [1]. In a previous study in which the scattering characteristics of Polar Stratospheric Clouds (PSCs) were calculated using randomly oriented monodispersions of prolate spheroids [2], the scattering signature of the main types of PSC particles was related to particles of a certain shape and size range. Here these results are used as a reference for testing a new method for calculating the scattering characteristics of PSC like clouds. The method is based on finding the single scattering solution for spheroids using the rigorous Separation of Variables Method (SVM), and then from it obtain the so called T-matrix The following question is addressed: Can the backscatter depolarization returns be used together with other remote sensing techniques to determine either basic shape (degree of needle- or disc-like asphericity) or size information of ice cloud particles? To this end the SVM is again utilized to obtain the T-matrix for a variety of size, shape, and size-shape distributions of ensembles of randomly oriented spheroidal particles. The results indicate that single-wavelength depolarization lidar returns are insufficient to uniquely determine both the size and the shape of the particles in an ice cloud. However, a combination of an NIR depolarization lidar and additional information obtained by complementing instruments---from which either size or shape can be estimated---has the potential for determining the mean size and shape of particles in an ice cloud.
    • Optical observations of critical ionization velocity chemical releases in the ionosphere: The role of collisions

      Hampton, Donald Loyd (1996)
      In recent years researchers have pointed out the importance of collisional processes in ionospheric chemical releases performed to study Alfven's critical ionization velocity effect (CIV). Ionizing collisions, including charge exchange with ambient O$\sp+$ and associative ionization, can not only help initiate CIV, but can also lead to 'contamination' of the ion cloud. Most of the proposed collisions have associated emissions which should be observable with sensitive detectors, but until now have not been attempted since atomic processes had not been considered important. The first four releases of the CRRES satellite were performed to study CIV. The releases were at local dusk over the south Pacific in September, 1990, and were observed from two aircraft with low light level cameras, both filtered and broadband. Ion inventories of the releases show ionization yields (number of ions per number of available neutrals) of 0.02% for Sr, 0.15% for the first Ba release, 0.27% for Ca and 1.48 for the second Ba release. The release clouds were seen to glow quite strongly, below the terminator. The measured light is found to be primarily from line emissions which indicates that it is due to collisional processes in the release cloud. Two measurements were made on the release cloud data; (1) the absolute intensity of the release clouds and (2) the ratio between a broadband intensified CCD (ICCD) and an imaging photon detector filtered for the Ba$\sp+$ 455.4 nm emission line. The measured ratio is compared to the expected ratio for charge exchange collisions, and to electron impact excitation of Ba. The measured ratio is consistent with emissions being from charge exchange collisions. However, when compared to the total intensity of emissions expected from charge exchange, the absolute intensity in the release cloud measured by the ICCD is five times greater. The two measurements are in conflict, and with this limited set of data cannot be fully resolved. The ratio measurement does indicate that any CIV discharge in the Ba releases was extremely weak, and that charge exchange is the dominant collisional process in Ba releases.
    • Single and multiple electromagnetic scattering by size -shape distributions of small nonspherical particles

      Schulz, Frank Michael (1998)
      A comprehensive model for light scattering by size-shape distributions of randomly oriented nonspherical particles is developed. The model uses spheroids as model particles. The vector Helmholtz equation is solved with a new separation of variables (SVM) approach that allows one to calculate the ensemble-averaged single scattering optical properties of ensembles of randomly oriented particles analytically. Since the use of the SVM in spheroidal coordinates properly accounts for the geometry of the particles, the method is applicable to a large range of shapes ranging from elongated prolate needles via spheres to flat oblate disks. The relation between geometric symmetries of particles and symmetry relations of the electromagnetic scattering solution is investigated systematically in the general framework of the theory of point groups. The results are exploited in the model for increasing the computational efficiency. A comprehensive vector radiative transfer model is in part developed in this work. This radiative transfer model takes the output of the single scattering model as input and computes the Stokes vector components in a vertically inhomogeneous, plane parallel medium as a function of polar and azimuth angle and as a function of optical depth. The single scattering model is applied to investigate the impact of particle shape on the optical properties of size-shape distributions of randomly oriented particles, such as aerosol layers or ice clouds in the atmosphere. The optical properties are found to be much more sensitive to a variation in the effective aspect ratio than to a variation in the effective variance of a shape-distribution. The results of this study are used as input to the vector radiative transfer model in order to study the shape-sensitivity of the radiation field in a macroscopic medium containing a size-shape distribution of randomly oriented particles. It is found that both the radiance, and the degree of linear polarization, and the degree of circular polarization are strongly shape-sensitive in most viewing directions.
    • Time-dependent electron transport and optical emissions in the aurora

      Peticolas, Laura Marie; Lummerzheim, Dirk (2000)
      This thesis presents the first time-dependent transport model of auroral electrons. The evolution of the spherical electron intensity in phase space is studied for a variety of incident electron intensities. It is shown that the secondary electrons with energies <10 eV and at altitudes >150 km can take over 300 ms to reach steady state in phase space. Since there are bright optical emissions in this region, such a time dependence in the auroral electrons is important. The emissions of N2(2PG) 3371 A and <math> <f> <rm>N<sup>+</sup><inf>2</inf></rm></f> </math> (1NG) 4278 A are studied for time-varying electron pulses to show for the first time that this ratio will change until the secondary electrons reach steady state in the ionosphere. The way in which the 3371A/4278A ratio changes with time-varying precipitation depends on the precipitating electron spectra. The changes in the emission ratio can be used to learn more about the auroral acceleration region and the role of the ionosphere in auroral emissions. Field-aligned bursts (FABs), often observed in electron spectra of instruments flying over flickering aurora, are modeled with the time-dependent transport model. How the ionosphere modifies these electrons is shown. The 3371 and 4278 A emissions of flickering FABs are modeled to study the optical effects of modulated electron intensities in time. A study of 4278 A emissions for electron source regions from 630 to 4,000 km are studied along with frequency variations from 5 to 100 Hz. This study shows that the percent variation of the maximum to the minimum column brightness is less for higher frequencies and more distant source regions. It is shown that with an accurate time-dependent transport calculation and 4278 A emission observations of flickering aurora it should be possible to deduce the source altitude of the modulated electrons creating the optical flickering.