Monday, 8 January 2018: 9:30 AM
Salon J (Hilton) (Austin, Texas)
The US National Science Foundation provides the space science community with a precise and capable set of ionospheric radars in the American longitude sector, and we will present a unified view of these radars as a space weather sensor network. The incoherent scatter radar (ISR) technique is 60+ years old and, uniquely among ionospheric sensors, these radars provide directly measured full altitude profiles of plasma parameters from well below to well above the ionospheric peak. In particular, ISRs provide full profile information on electron density, electron temperature, ion temperature, ion composition, and plasma velocity. The availability of direct plasma thermal measurements is another unique feature. Parameters such as electric field strength, conductivity and current, neutral air temperature, and wind speed can also be inferred. The current suite of American longitude ISRs covers ionospheric regions in polar latitudes (Resolute Bay), auroral latitudes (Sondrestrom, PFISR), sub-auroral latitudes (PFISR and Millstone), mid-latitudes (Millstone and Arecibo), and equatorial latitudes (Jicamarca). All of these radars host their data in the Madrigal distributed database system, an open source, web-based system, providing the scientific community with easy web data access and direct computer application interfaces. The Madrigal database also provides historical access to past ISR data during disturbed and quiet-time periods over multiple solar cycles and many geoeffective solar storms. Of particular note, the Millstone Hill database extends over 50+ years. Madrigal data files provide calibrated statistical uncertainties for measured parameters and, in most cases, pre-defined survey plots are available. Several of the ISRs can also provide real-time analysis of plasma parameters during storm periods. The availability of full altitude plasma profiles, including thermal state, with well calibrated uncertainties makes ISR real-time and historical measurements extremely valuable and ideal for use in the development of space weather prediction models, and we will describe concepts for these use cases.
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