Radar Measurement of the Upper Atmosphere

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Science  12 Oct 1979:
Vol. 206, Issue 4415, pp. 180-189
DOI: 10.1126/science.206.4415.180


In the last two decades large radars have proved to be powerful instruments for the measurement of the properties of the upper atmosphere. These radars were used initially to measure properties of the ionosphere by the Thomson scattering technique at heights above 100 kilometers. Careful interpretation of the power and spectrum of radar echoes yielded data on electron and ion densities and temperatures as well as on bulk motion of the ionospheric plasma, all as functions of height and time. More recent developments have made it possible to measure wind speeds and the structure of turbulence in the stratosphere and mesosphere at altitudes below 100 kilometers.