A two-year, systematic observational study of the seasonal variations in mid-latitude metal layer dynamics is proposed at the Arecibo Observatory. The occurrence and behavior of various metal layers (Na, Fe, K, Ca) will be investigated using the Arecibo lidars and the incoherent scatter radar during summer, winter and equinox periods. Such a study will provide a comprehensive view of metal layer dynamics as a function of season allowing us to explore the coupling between neutral dynamics, chemistry and the plasma. Past studies at Arecibo have concentrated on case studies of metal species at particular times of year, but the PI proposes a systematic year-round study utilizing the complete capabilities of the Arecibo lidars. In addition, observations during summer Es maximum coupled with observations at other times of year will provide insight into the relationship between metal layer dynamics and the formation of Es and associated plasma irregularities. Past observations at Arecibo have shown that sporadic ionization layers are often associated with sporadic metal layers, such as sodium, but the relationship between such layers when instabilities are present has not been explored in detail. The proposed study represents an exciting opportunity to establish a baseline for the understanding of metal layer morphology and dynamics at mid-latitudes. It will also produce important insights into Es formation and associated irregularities.
|Effective start/end date
|11/15/01 → 6/30/04
- National Science Foundation: $100,000.00