The dynamics of ion layer generation in the 80-150 km altitude region at low and mid-latitudes

John D. Mathews

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    7 Scopus citations


    The association of sporadic ion and sporadic sodium layers in the low-latitude, 90-100 km altitude region suggests that we must look beyond the windshear theory for details of the formation mechanism of sporadic layers in the 80-150 km altitude region. We present evidence, including specific 85-105 km results from the AIDA-89 and the ALOHA-90 campaigns, that 80-150 km altitude sporadic layers - including sporadic sodium layers - are generated in a complex interplay of tidal and acoustic-gravity wave (AGW) dynamics with temperature-dependent chemistry where wave-produced temperature variations are both adiabatic and dissipative or turbulent (non-reversible) in origin. We suggest that layering processes are best studied with an instrument cluster that includes sodium and iron lidars, MST radar (turbulence), incoherent scatter radar (electron concentration and winds), meteor radar techniques (winds), passive optical/IR imaging techniques, and appropriate rocket payloads to study a significant volume of the 80-150 km altitude region. We introduce the concept of volumetric radar and lidar techniques.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)673-682
    Number of pages10
    JournalJournal of Atmospheric and Terrestrial Physics
    Issue number6
    StatePublished - 1996

    All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

    • Environmental Science(all)
    • Geophysics
    • Engineering(all)
    • Atmospheric Science
    • Earth and Planetary Sciences(all)


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