VIPIR and 50 MHz Radar Studies of Gravity Wave Signatures in 150-km Echoes Observed at Jicamarca

Pablo M. Reyes, Erhan Kudeki, Gerald A. Lehmacher, Jorge L. Chau, Marco A. Milla

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Range-time-intensity (RTI) plots of 50 MHz radar backscatter detected at Jicamarca from the 150-km region of the equatorial ionosphere exhibit necklace-shaped multilayered structures first reported by Kudeki and Fawcett (1993, The backscatter layers also exhibit quasi-periodic intensity fluctuations with periods of about 5–15 min and are separated from adjacent layers by thin and undulating regions of no detectible power returns. A study of the fluctuating backscatter layers and undulating gap regions will be presented using VIPIR ionosonde data taken at the Jicamarca Radio Observatory simultaneously with high-resolution 50-MHz radar backscatter data. VIPIR virtual reflection height variations in time are noted to match the RTI gap-region undulations very closely at selected VIPIR frequencies (or, equivalently, electron densities at reflection heights). This matching enables assigning “true heights” to VIPIR virtual height contour maps, and a joint study of the contour maps with the 50-MHz radar RTI maps strongly suggests that correlated fluctuations and undulations observed in VIPIR and 50-MHz radar data are indicative of gravity wave-induced variations in the 150-km region ionosphere. Accordingly, a complete explanation of the 150-km echo phenomenon will need to include gravity wave coupling and forcing effects in the enhancement and suppression processes that can account for the observed fluctuations and gap-region features of necklace-shaped 150-km echo maps.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere2019JA027535
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 1 2020


  • 150-km echoes
  • equatorial ionosphere
  • gravity waves
  • ionospheric sounding
  • radar scattering

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Space and Planetary Science
  • Geophysics


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