Analysis of Refractive Effects on Mid-Latitude SuperDARN Velocity Measurements

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Virginia Tech

First time ionospheric refractive index values have been determined at mid latitudes using frequency switched SuperDARN plasma convection velocity estimates. Previous works have found a disparity between high latitude SuperDARN plasma convection velocities and those made by other devices. It was noted that the scattering volume’s refractive index was being neglected when estimating plasma convection velocities, meaning a correction factor was needed in order to more accurately reflect other measurements. Later work proposed a solution which implemented frequency switching in SuperDARN radars and determined a single correction factor based off of many years of data. We present case study driven research which applies the principles of these previous works to mid latitudes in an attempt to determine the refractive effect in mid latitude SuperDARN plasma convection velocity data by examining frequency switched quiet time ionospheric scatter. It was found that the 1/2 hop ionospheric scatter exhibited little to no measurable refractive effect (n ∼ 1), while the 11/2 hop ionospheric scatter tended to exhibit measurable refractive effects (n ∼ 0.7). This is then expanded to a storm-time 1/2 hop ionospheric scatter case study. It was again found that the refractive effects were nearly negligible (n ∼ 1), indicating that the 1/2 hop plasma convection velocities reported by mid latitude SuperDARN radars only require a very small correction factor, if any at all.

SuperDARN, mid-latitude, ionosphere, propagation