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Influences of the equatorward SuperDARN expansion on data coverage and measured parameters

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Publication date3/07/2019
Original languageEnglish
EventNational Astronomy Meeting 2019 - Lancaster University, Lancaster, United Kingdom
Duration: 30/06/20194/07/2019

Conference

ConferenceNational Astronomy Meeting 2019
Abbreviated titleNAM 2019
CountryUnited Kingdom
CityLancaster
Period30/06/194/07/19

Abstract

The Super Dual Auroral Radar Network (SuperDARN) was built to study ionospheric convection at Earth and has in recent years been expanded equatorward to observe ionospheric flows over a larger latitude range. The SuperDARN expansion to midlatitudes started in 2005 with the building of the Wallops Island Radar at 37.93 degrees geographic latitude, and a geographic longitude of -75.47 degrees. Since then, nine more mid-latitude radars have been added to the network, allowing us to measure ionospheric convection on a larger scale than ever before. Using data from the years 2012 to 2018, we perform a statistical analysis on processed SuperDARN convection maps for the entire dataset.  We process a number of versions of the maps, using different background models both with and without the inclusion of data from midlatitude radars. This enables us to explore the difference the addition these radars make to the dataset, as well as simulate how much information was missing from the previous decades of SuperDARN research. To show the importance of growing the radar network to include measurements at mid-latitudes we study a variety of parameters, such as changes in the equatorward boundary of the ionospheric electric field, changes in the cross polar cap potential, changes in the locations of the minimum and maximum potentials, and the width of the return flow region. We show that there is a clear difference between the datasets, especially when comparing the measured parameters to geomagnetic indices, such as AL.