Eastward traverse of equatorial plasma plumes observed with the Equatorial Atmosphere Radar in Indonesia
The zonal structure of radar backscatter plumes associated with Equatorial Spread F (ESF), probably modulated by atmospheric gravity waves, has been investigated with the Equatorial Atmosphere Radar (EAR) in West Sumatra, Indonesia (0.20° S, 100.32° E; dip latitude 10.1° S) and the FM-CW ionospheric sounders on the same magnetic meridian as the EAR. The occurrence locations and zonal distances of the ESF plumes were determined with multi-beam observations with the EAR. The ESF plumes drifted eastward while keeping distances of several hundred to a thousand kilometers. Comparing the occurrence of the plumes and the F-layer uplift measured by the FM-CW sounders, plumes were initiated within the scanned area around sunset only, when the F-layer altitude rapidly increased. Therefore, the PreReversal Enhancement (PRE) is considered as having a zonal variation with the scales mentioned above, and this variation causes day-to-day variability, which has been studied for a long time. Modulation of the underlying E-region conductivity by gravity waves, which causes inhomogeneous sporadic-E layers, for example, is a likely mechanism to determine the scale of the PRE.