An examination of certain ionization phenomena in the region of the earth's atmosphere from about 50 to 90 kilometers, the D-layer. The concentration of electrons in this region tends to change with the incidence of solar radiation, being greatest in the daytime and falling off during the nighttime or during solar eclipses. Factors in this process are rates of attachment and detachment of electrons to molecules of oxygen (and possibly water vapor) and recombination rates of ions and electrons. The ionization effects attributable to cosmic radiation are also examined. As a study in the basic physics of the upper atmosphere, this research memorandum provides part of the background for investigations of the effects of high-altitude nuclear explosions on radio communications. It is thus tied in with research leading to improved methods of postattack command and control.
This report is part of the RAND Corporation Research memorandum series. The Research Memorandum was a product of the RAND Corporation from 1948 to 1973 that represented working papers meant to report current results of RAND research to appropriate audiences.
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