OBSERVATIONS OF ACOUSTIC WAVES IN THE IONOSPHERE FOLLOWING NUCLEAR EXPLOSIONS.
SPACE DISTURBANCES LAB BOULDER CO
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During 1961 and 1962 wavelike disturbances were observed in the ionosphere above the United States following seventy-five nuclear explosions in the atmosphere. The disturbances, which were detected at 150 to 200 km, had characteristic periods of about 1 min and speeds of about 300 ms. In general an explosion must have a yield equivalent to 1 megaton of TNT or greater to generate a disturbance detectable at 7000 km from the source. The periods and propagation speeds of the ionospheric disturbances are essentially the same as those observed on the ground with microbarographs. The ionospheric disturbances are interpreted as manifestations of imperfectly ducted acoustic waves. A method is developed for relating the ionospheric-disturbance observations to the pressure perturbation in the neutral atmosphere. For one specific event 30 October 1962 an upper limit to the relative pressure perturbation at 190 km is found to be 13 percent. A complete catalog of the nuclear explosions detected is given. Author
- Atmospheric Physics