Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository

Degree

Master of Science

Program

Physics

Supervisor

Dr. Wayne Hocking

Abstract

Thermally ablating meteoroids, colliding with the Earth’s atmosphere, leave a high temperature trail containing extremely energetic metallic ions and electrons. A well recognized, but unresolved, anomaly associated with ambipolar diffusion of meteor trains, which is more dominant in overdense meteors, takes place in the initial post-adiabatic train expansion. In this work, a newly proposed mechanism explaining this anomaly involves hyperthermal chemical reactions is presented. Data from the SKiYMET meteor radar system, deployed at latitudinally dispersed locations, were used to determine ozone density in the upper atmosphere by analyzing diffusion of overdense meteor trains. The results obtained in this study are in line with satellite measurements of ozone density. Moreover, it was demonstrated that backscatter can detect a direct signature of the newly discovered hyperthermal chemical reactions in overdense meteor trains. The hypothesis proposed in this thesis, suggesting the possibility of measuring the upper atmosphere ozone density using backscatter radar, has been validated.


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