The Role of Atmospheric Parameters and Turbulence on Meteor Trail Evolution: Analysis and Simulations

Open Access
Hibit, Elijah Ben
Graduate Program:
Electrical Engineering
Master of Engineering
Document Type:
Master Thesis
Date of Defense:
July 30, 2010
Committee Members:
  • Julio Urbina, Thesis Advisor
  • Zhiwen Liu, Thesis Advisor
  • meteor
  • numeric
  • model
  • radar
  • trail
  • non-specular
  • underdense
The purpose of this thesis is to present analyses on two different meteor trail echo types: non-specular and underdense specular echoes. By using current theoreti- cal knowledge and numerical modeling, we are able to draw conclusions on both the role of earthbound atmospheric parameters and turbulence in the evolution of these trails. These simulations are compared with observations from Fort Ma- con, Atlantic Beach, North Carolina (34N, 76W ) during June 2001. Comparing simulations which include or neglect different parameters with observations clearly show the magnitude to which a parameter contributes to meteor trail evolution. Simulations are compared with 62 hours of continuous data to show the role that atmospheric variability has in non-specular meteor echo duration. We show clearly that the periodicity present in the observed trail duration is also present in simulations, and is driven by diurnal atmospheric periodicity. We present 6 hours of comparison with height-matched underdense specular echoes observed at Fort Macon with simulations which include either perpendicular or parallel diffusion. This shows modeling turbulent plasma produces stronger agreement with observations than modeling neglecting turbulent diffusion.