Patches of polar mesospheric summer echoes characterized from radar imaging observations with MAARSY
A recent study has hypothesized that polar mesospheric summer echoes (PMSEs) might consist mainly of localized isotropic scattering. These results have been inferred from indirect measurements. Using radar imaging with the Middle Atmosphere Alomar Radar System (MAARSY), we observed horizontal structures that support our previous findings. We observe that small-scale irregularities, causing isotropic scattering, are organized in patches. We find that patches of PMSEs, as observed by the radar, are usually smaller than 1 km. These patches occur throughout the illuminated volume, supporting that PMSEs are caused by localized isotropic or inhomogeneous scattering. Furthermore, we show that imaging can be used to identify side lobe detections, which have a significant influence even for narrow beam observations. Improved spectra estimations are obtained by selecting the desired volume to study parameters such as spectral width and to estimate the derived energy dissipation rates. In addition, a combined wide beam experiment and radar imaging is used to resolve the radial velocity and spectral width at different volumes within the illuminated volume.