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Published by Martin hume
Weather Modification - Artificial Ionospheric Mirror - Plasma Layer.
Weather Modification - Artificial Ionospheric Mirror - Plasma Layer.

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Categories:Types, Research, Science
Published by: Martin hume on Jul 25, 2012
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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In the case of scientific visualisation, there might be a more distinctive difference between the real
time and post experiment visualisation needs. The most important objective with real time
visualisation is to support decisions, for example how to run external instrumentation, and possibly
if or when to launch rockets. The natural evolution from the current real time visualisation of
analysed data, generally a figure with updating panels showing electron density, temperatures and
ion velocity, is to replicate those data for each beam. This could be done with one figure for each
parameter with panels for each beam, as is currently used at PFISR, or with one figure per beam
and panels for electron density, electron and ion temperature and ion velocity. The preferred layout
will of course depend on the experiment at hand and will also depend on personal preferences and
should if possible be left to the user. For the current EISCAT “RT-graph” displaying back-scattered
power, ion and plasma line spectra, the same extension could be made, again with either one figure
per beam displaying all different parameters or one figure per parameter displaying for example the
ion line spectra for all beams etc, with similar layout considerations.

Another design feature of the real time visualisation system should be to allow the users to link or
plug in tailor-made data visualisation functions, but more importantly functions to signal for special
observational conditions. The reason this functionality will be needed is maybe best explained by
an illustrative example: Occasionally the EISCAT radars observe Naturally Enhanced Ion Acoustic
Lines (NEIALs) that are orders of magnitude above the thermal back-scatter. At times these echoes
give spectra with large cross correlations when observed with the two EISCAT Svalbard Radars.
This makes it possible to use interferometric techniques to determine angle-of-arrival. With
EISCAT 3-D it will be possible to use interferometric imaging to determine the horizontal structure
of these echoes. A signal monitoring the total back-scattered power at altitudes above 500 km could
be used as a trigger for NEIAL events after which data from separate sub-arrays could be stored.

This simple signal, and others we might design, could of course be implemented during the
development of the visualisation system. However, since research will always be the study of what
is at best poorly understood, it will always be impossible to accurately predict what might become
signals of future interest. Two requirements for this to work are obviously that the visualisation
system is built modularly, and that the data formats are self-contained.

The post experiment visualisation aims at presenting the physical parameters of interest in a clear
and understandable manner. The most straightforward visualisation is to use figures with a similar
format to the current EISCAT standard plots. However, plots with panels displaying the parameters
of interest as function of time and altitude stacked together beam by beam might not be sufficient to
properly display events where there is horizontal motion of spatial structures. For such conditions,
or when several radar beams are used to build a three-dimensional image of the ionosphere, the best
approach would be stacking the beams together in a three-dimensional block and show selected
slices and cuts, as in Figure 9.4.3. Such displays nicely show the spatial variation in the selected
cuts, and if extended to animations with respect to time, one can also see the temporal variation.

These stacked plots might, however, miss interesting evolution that happened between cuts, so the
user must take proper care when selecting cuts. For plots like these, one can also use cuts that
follow some characteristic parameter. For example, one might also chose a cut at the altitude of
peak E-region electron density. As time progresses, the altitude of the cut will then vary but one is
assured to see the spatial variation of the E region peak. When one wants to combine the
information on several spectral features colour coding can be used. This makes for displays that are
very rich in information. For EISCAT 3-D where the time variation of the back-scattered spectra


can be measured in the full three spatial dimensions we will get a data product that is 5-dimensional
(x; y; z; f; t) and we will have to resort to displays which reduce that dimensionality.

Figure 9.4.3: Electron densities at three horizontal cuts and one vertical, displaying the E region electron density in

and around an auroral arc. Figure courtesy of J. Semeter, used with permission.

Volume rendering techniques have largely been left outside this brief overview of visualisation
methods. The main reason for this is that volume visualisation with transparency/ translucency is
good for qualitative overviews of an event. However, experience of working with three-
dimensional imaging of aurora and radio induced optical emissions (also known as artificial aurora)
has shown that the human visual perception is not well developed to interpret three-dimensional
intensity variations. We have adapted to see motion, contrast, and the three-dimensional location of
surfaces of nearby objects with stereoscopic vision, but not to see the three-dimensional density
variation of conditions such as fog (Private communication: Bill Hibbard, creator of vis5d, a
leading visualisation package for high-dimensional data: http://vis5d.sourceforge.net/). Volume
rendering methods do produce nice looking overview animations. For example, see
www.eiscat.se/groups/EISCAT_3D/WP8/d86/arc_movie.gif (showing an animated volume
rendering of a section of an auroral arc as the observer views the arc from different angles) and
www.eiscat.se/groups/EISCAT_3D/WP8/d86/emissions_movie.gif (showing the temporal
evolution of radio induced optical emissions above EISCAT Ramfjord, with the viewer located at a
fixed point looking eastward.).

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