Articles | Volume 12
10 Nov 2014
 | 10 Nov 2014

Geometric considerations of polar mesospheric summer echoes in tilted beams using coherent radar imaging

S. Sommer, G. Stober, J. L. Chau, and R. Latteck

Abstract. We present observations of polar mesospheric summer echoes (PMSE) using the Middle Atmosphere Alomar Radar System in Northern Norway (69.30° N, 16.04° E). The radar is able to resolve PMSE at high spatial and temporal resolution and to perform pulse-to-pulse beam steering. In this experiment, 81 oblique beam directions were used with off-zenith angles up to 25°. For each beam pointing direction and range gate, coherent radar imaging was applied to determine the mean backscatter location. The location of the mean scatterer in the beam volume was calculated by the deviation from the nominal off-zenith angle of the brightest pixel. It shows that in tilted beams with an off-zenith angle greater than 5°, structures appear at the altitudinal edges of the PMSE layer. Our results indicate that the mean influence of the location of the maximum depends on the tilt of the beam and on the observed area of the PMSE layer. At the upper/lower edge of the PMSE layer, the mean backscatter has a greater/smaller off-zenith angle than the nominal off-zenith angle. This effect intensifies with greater off-zenith beam pointing direction, so the beam filling factor plays an important role in the observation of PMSE layers for oblique beams.