Measurement of Incoherent Scatter

For radio waves transmitted through the ionosphere with frequencies much larger (50 to 1300MHz) than the plasma frequency (up to 15MHz), very small-scale fluctuations of electron density will scatter a portion of the signal back toward the transmitter. These fluctuations are caused by the random thermal motions of the electrons. The height at which the scattering occurs can be determined by either a pulse technique or by the use of two intersecting cylindrical radar beams. The height resolutions of a backscattered pulse or beam can vary from 4 to 35 km at a height of 100 km to about 300 km at altitudes above 1000 km, depending on the equipment used and the geographical location of the station. From analysis of the backscattered signals, electron density profiles, electron and ion temperature profiles, and ion composition and ionospheric drift can be determined. The equipment used for the observations determines the vertical extent of the backscattered profiles and the resolution, as well as influencing the procedures used to convert the scattered return to measures of meaningful ionospheric parameters. Radar installations that can make these observations are complex and expensive to operate; consequently, these observations are scheduled on an "as needed" basis, and the equipment is shared for other uses. Although the NOAA National Centers for Environmental Information (formerly National Geophysical Data Center) has several data tapes, each one is an independent experiment with its own parameters and data format. The National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) now archives these data. Their collection includes the NCEI data and newer Incoherent Scatter data that they receive. NCAR has done significant development work on these data sets. They have created a common archive data format and converted all data to this new format. For additional details about this data set, contact one of the people at the address listed below. NCAR HAO, P.O. Box 3000, Boulder, CO 80307-3000, USA. FAX: 303-497-1589. Barbara Emery: 303-497-1596, Roy Barnes: 303-497-1230;
Download Data
Distribution Formats
Ordering Instructions Ordering Instructions: Download data via the ftp site Custom Order Process: Contact data center for information
Distributor Distributor information not available
Dataset No POCs available for this dataset
Time Period 1965-11-15 to 1977-12-15
Spatial Bounding Box Coordinates
N: 90.000000
S: -90.000000
E: 180.000000
W: -180.000000
Spatial Coverage Map
Documentation links not available.
Publication Dates
  • publication: 1975-01-01
Edition First
Dataset Progress Status Complete - production of the data has been completed
Data Update Frequency Not planned
Supplemental Information
Observing station type: Solar-Terrestrial Observatory. Data collection type: Network.Quality control: The incoherent scatter data consist of the following data sets: Arecibo I9/I29, N12, N34(Raw), N35(Raw), and N35(reduced); Jicamarca: November 1966-April 1969; Millstone Hill: 1970 and 1971; Saint Santin: November 1965-November 1967, February 1971-May 1975, and January 1976-December 1977.
Purpose Radio Signal Research
Use Limitations
  • While every effort has been made to ensure that these data are accurate and reliable within the limits of the current state of the art, NOAA cannot assume liability for any damages caused by any errors or omissions in the data.
  • DOC/NOAA/NESDIS/NGDC > National Geophysical Data Center, NESDIS, NOAA, U.S. Department of Commerce
  • DOC/NOAA/NESDIS/NGDC > National Geophysical Data Center, NESDIS, NOAA, U.S. Department of Commerce
Theme keywords NASA/GCMD Earth Science Keywords
  • EARTH SCIENCE > Solar-terrestrial Interactions > Ionosphere/Magnetosphere Particles > Particle Density
Place keywords NASA/GCMD Location Keywords
  • Global
      Use Constraints
      • Use Constraints: None
      Access Constraints
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      • No cost
      Last Modified: 2015-09-18
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