MITHRAS Studies of the Auroral Oval and Polar Cap
Final rept. 1 May 1987-31 Dec 1990,
SRI INTERNATIONAL MENLO PARK CA GEOSCIENCE AND ENGINEERING CENTER
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MITHRAS is a program of coordinated experiments dedicated to studying the coupling between the magnetosphere, the ionosphere, and the thermosphere. MITHRAS observations mostly involve the Sondrestrom radar in Greenland, but other incoherent scatter radars around the world were also used. Contract highlights include 1 The most extensive comparisons ever made between incoherent scatter radar data and numerical simulation models were performed. These comparisons were based on both individual case studies and averaged data, and included observations from all the incoherent scatter radars. The comparisons showed general agreement between observations and model calculations but they also showed significant differences. 2 During solar-maximum conditions, the contribution to the height integrated Pederson conductivity from solar-produced F-region ionization can be as large as 60 of the total. 3 Under certain geophysical conditions it appears possible to identify the low- altitude cusp and distinguish it from the cleft. The cusp proper appears to be characterized by enhanced F region plasma density collocated with elevated F region electron temperature it does not appear to be associated with a particular plasma flow pattern signature. 4 A new mechanism was proposed to explain how auroral surges might be formed. It was suggested that the surge was associated with a distortion of the poleward boundary of the aurora, and that this distortion was caused by the field aligned currents within the head of the surge.
- Atmospheric Physics
- Active and Passive Radar Detection and Equipment