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Chau J.L.,Instituto Geofisico del Peru | Rottger J.,Max Planck Institute for Solar Systems | Rapp M.,German Aerospace Center | Rapp M.,Ludwig Maximilians University of Munich
Journal of Atmospheric and Solar-Terrestrial Physics | Year: 2014

In this paper we study the effects of absorption and Faraday rotation on measurements of polar mesosphere summer echoes (PMSE). We found that such effects can produce significant reduction of signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) when the D region electron densities (Ne) are enhanced, and VHF radar systems with linearly polarized antennas are used. In particular we study the expected effects during the strong solar proton event (SPE) of July 2000, also known as the Bastille day flare event. During this event, a strong anti-correlation between the PMSE SNR and the D-region Ne was found over three VHF radar sites at high latitudes: Andøya, Kiruna, and Svalbard. This anti-correlation has been explained (a) in terms of transport effects due to strong electric fields associated to the SPE and (b) due to a limited amount of aerosol particles as compared to the amount of D-region electrons. Our calculations using the Ne profiles used by previous researchers explain most, if not all, of the observed SNR reduction in both time (around the SPE peak) and altitude. This systematic effect, particularly the Faraday rotation, should be recognized and tested, and possibly avoided (e.g., using circular polarization), in future observations during the incoming solar maximum period, to contribute to the understanding of PMSE during enhanced D region Ne. © 2013 Elsevier Ltd.

Haaland S.,Max Planck Institute for Solar Systems | Haaland S.,University of Bergen | Kronberg E.A.,Max Planck Institute for Solar Systems | Daly P.W.,Max Planck Institute for Solar Systems | And 4 more authors.
Annales Geophysicae | Year: 2010

We present a study of the spectral characteristics of protons in the Earth's plasma sheet for various geomagnetic disturbance levels. The study is based on about 5400 h of data combined from the Cluster RAPID and CIS instruments obtained during the tail season (July-October). The overall proton spectral shape is generally that of a ΰ distribution, that is, resembling a Maxwellian at lower energies which smoothly merges into a power-law tail at higher energies. The actual spectral long-term slope depends on various magnetospheric driver parameters, but is on average around 3.5-4. During disturbed conditions, such as geomagnetic storm or substorm periods, a shift in the characteristic energy is observed. For two individual storms, we also found a hardening of the spectra. Unlike the electron spectra, we do not see any significant local time dependence in the spectral slope, but we find higher average ion fluxes in the dusk side. We also do not find any direct response in the energy spectra to changes in the interplanetary magnetic field or solar wind dynamic pressure. This suggests that energization of the ions are mainly due to internal processes in the plasma sheet. © 2010 Author(s).

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