DOI: 10.3724/SP.J.1085.2013.00019

Advances in Polar Science 2013/24:1 PP.19-31

Statistical characteristics of ionospheric backscatter observed by SuperDARN Zhongshan radar in Antarctica

Zhongshan HF radar, as one component of SuperDARN, has been established and in operation since April, 2010. Using data from the first two years of its operation, this paper investigates the radar’s performance, the diurnal and seasonal variations of ionospheric echoes, and their dependence on geomagnetic activity. Statistical studies show that the occurrence of echoes in differ-ent beams varies at different frequencies, which arises from the direction of the beam and the area over which the beam can achieve the orthogonality condition between the wave vector and the Earth’s magnetic field. The diurnal variation is obvious with double peak structures both in the occurrence rate and average power at 04–08 UT and 16–17 UT. The line-of-sight velocities are mainly positive on the dayside and negative on the nightside for Beam 0, which is the opposite of the trend for Beam 15. The spec-tral widths on the dayside are often higher than those on the nightside owing to the high energy particle precipitation in the cusp region. The seasonal variations are more obvious for those beams with larger numbers. The occurrence, the average power, the line-of-sight velocity, and the spectral widths are generally larger in the winter months than in the summer months. The influence of geomagnetic activity on radar echoes is significant. The peak echo occurrence appears on the dayside during geomagnetically quiet times, and shifts toward the nightside and exhibits an obvious decrease with increasing Kp. With increasing geomagnetic activity, the line-of-sight velocities increase, whereas the spectral widths decrease. The frequency dependence is investigated and it is found that in the operating frequency bands in 2010, 9–10 MHz is the most appropriate band for the SuperDARN Zhongshan radar.

Key words:SuperDARN, Zhongshan radar, diurnal variations, seasonal variations, geomagnetic activity dependence, frequency dependence

ReleaseDate:2014-07-21 16:59:19