On the altitude dependence of the spectral characteristics of decametre-wavelength E region backscatter and the relationship with optical auroral forms

Observations of E region backscatter by the Ice-land East SuperDARN HF radar from the 30 minute period 2330 to 2400 UT on 13 September 1999 are presented, along with simultaneous observations of auroral luminosity from two all-sky cameras. Interferometric techniques are employed to estimate the altitude of origin of each echo observed by the radar. Under investigation is a region of backscatter which is L-shell aligned and exists in a region of low auroral luminosity bounded to the north and the south by two auroral arcs. The spectral characteristics of the backscatter fall into three main populations: broad, low Doppler shift spectra; narrow, high Doppler shift spectra; and exceptionally narrow, low Doppler shift spectra. The first two populations are similar to type II and type I spectra observed with VHF radars, respectively. These populations scatter from near the peak of the E region. The high Doppler shift population appears to exist in a region of sub-critical electric field. The third population originates below the E region peak at altitudes between 80 and 100 km. We argue that a non-coherent scattering process is responsible for this backscatter.