Remote sensing of the ignorosphere: Need for a complete earth-ionosphere radio wave propagation model
01 Jan 2018-Vol. 53, pp 527-543
TL;DR: In this article, a short review on retrieval mechanism of the D-region ionospheric plasma using sub-ionospheric VLF/LF data is presented, where the authors discuss importance of VLFs/LFs observation techniques and significant earth-ionosphere propagation models to diagnose electron-ion distribution in the lower ionosphere.
Abstract: We present a short review on retrieval mechanism of the D-region ionospheric plasma using sub-ionospheric VLF/LF data. First, we discuss importance of VLF/LF observation techniques and significant earth-ionosphere propagation models to diagnose electron-ion distribution in the lower ionosphere. Then we discuss about VLF/LF perturbations due to different geophysical phenomena and corresponding numerical simulations applied to retrieve the state of the D-region ionosphere.
01 Jul 2018
TL;DR: In this paper, the effects of the total solar eclipse on the VLF signal were investigated using the knowledge of the lower ionospheric chemical and physical properties, which is not well studied till date.
Abstract: The variation in the solar Extreme Ultraviolet (EUV) radiation flux by any measure is the most dominant natural source to produce perturbations or modulations in the ionospheric chemical and plasma properties. A solar eclipse, though a very rare phenomenon, is similarly bound to produce a significant short time effect on the local ionospheric properties. The influence of the ionizing solar flux reduction during a solar eclipse on the lower ionosphere or, more precisely, the D-region, can be studied with the observation of Very Low Frequency (VLF) radio wave signal modulation. The interpretation of such an effect on VLF signals requires a knowledge of the D-region ion chemistry, which is not well studied till date. Dominant parameters which govern the ion chemistry, such as the recombination coefficients, are poorly known. The occurrence of events such as a solar eclipse provides us with an excellent opportunity to investigate the accuracy of our knowledge of the chemical condition in this part of Earth’s atmosphere and the properties which control the ionospheric stability under such disturbances. In this paper, using existing knowledge of the lower ionospheric chemical and physical properties we carry out an interpretation of the effects obtained during the total solar eclipse of 22 of July 2009 on the VLF signal. Data obtained from a week long campaign conducted by the Indian Centre for Space Physics (ICSP) over the Indian subcontinent has been used for this purpose. Both positive and negative amplitude changes during the eclipse were observed along various receiver locations. In this paper, data for a propagation path between a Indian Navy VLF transmitter named VTX3 and a pair of receivers in India are used. We start from the observed solar flux during the eclipse and calculate the ionization during the whole time span over most of the influenced region in a range of height. We incorporate a D-region ion-chemistry model to find the equilibrium ion density over the region and employ the LWPC code to find the VLF signal amplitude. To tackle the uncertainty in the values of the recombination coefficients we explore a range of values in the chemical evolution model. We achieve two goals by this exercise: First, we have been able to reproduce the trends, if not the exact signal variation, of the VLF signal modulations during a solar eclipse at two different receiving stations with sufficient accuracy purely from theoretical modeling, and second our knowledge of some of the D-region ion-chemistry parameters is now improved.
TL;DR: In this article, the D-region ionospheric disturbances due to the tropical cyclone Fani over the Indian Ocean have been analyzed using Very Low Frequency (VLF) radio communication signals from three transmitters (VTX, NWC and JJI) received at two low latitude stations (Kolkata-CUB and Cooch Behar-CHB).
Abstract: The D-region ionospheric disturbances due to the tropical cyclone Fani over the Indian Ocean have been analysed using Very Low Frequency (VLF) radio communication signals from three transmitters (VTX, NWC and JJI) received at two low latitude stations (Kolkata-CUB and Cooch Behar-CHB). The cyclone Fani formed from a depression on 26th April, 2019 over the Bay of Bengal (Northeastern part of the Indian Ocean) and turned into an extremely severe cyclone with maximum 1-minute sustained winds of 250 km/h on 2 May, 2019 which made landfall on 3 May, 2019. Out of six propagation paths, five propagation paths, except the JJI-CHB which was far away from the cyclone track, showed strong perturbations beyond 3 σ level compared to unperturbed signals. Consistent good correlations of VLF signal perturbations with the wind speed and cyclone pressure have been seen for both the receiving stations. Computations of radio signal perturbations at CUB and CHB using the Long Wave Propagation Capability (LWPC) code revealed a Gaussian perturbation in the D-region ionosphere. Analysis of atmospheric temperature at different layers from the NASA’s TIMED satellite revealed a cooling effect near the tropopause and warming effects near the stratopause and upper mesosphere regions on 3 May, 2019. This study shows that the cyclone Fani perturbed the whole atmosphere, from troposphere to ionosphere and the VLF waves responded to the disturbances in the conductivity profiles of the lower ionosphere.
01 Dec 2006
TL;DR: In this article, a new class of early/fast VLF events with recoveries of up to 20 min was introduced, much longer than typical Early/fast and Lightning-induced Electron Precipitation (LEP) events which recover to pre-event levels in ≲200 s.
Abstract:  We introduce a new class of Early/fast VLF events with recoveries of up to 20 min, much longer than typical Early/fast and Lightning-induced Electron Precipitation (LEP) events which recover to pre-event levels in ≲200 s. Three distinct types of long recovery events are observed, each exhibiting different characteristics, with the observed features of at least some of the event types consistent with the possibility of persistent ionization at altitudes below 60 km as put forth by Lehtinen and Inan (2007).
TL;DR: In this article, the authors reported disturbance in the mid-latitude sub-ionospheric VLF radio signals due to the super geomagnetic storm which began on 17 March 2015.
Abstract: This paper reports disturbance in the mid-latitude sub-ionospheric VLF radio signals due to the super geomagnetic storm which began on 17 March 2015. Narrow-band signals from the NAA transmitter are studied for the storm period recorded at eight mid-latitude receiving stations spread over the Europe and USA. Daytime signals amplitude at all places showed a disturbing pattern after 17 March. Fluctuation in the nighttime signals significantly increased in the succeeding nights. As a primary effect of the storm, the entire diurnal signals in the transoceanic west to east long propagation paths enhanced by 3–5 dB, which gradually decreased over the period of ~ 10 days following the storm recovery. A different behavior was observed in the east to west short propagation paths over the landmass, where during the peak storm the daily variations of the VLF amplitude reduced to 20–25% of a normal day and, after ~ 10 days the signals returned to the pre-storm condition. Modeling of the radio waves in the west to east paths shows that the D-region electron density was increased by ~ 8-fold and varied up to 10 days. Electron density variations in the D-region closely follows the variations of precipitated electron flux as observed by the POES satellite over the region. The elevated electron density in the D-region ionosphere caused by the extension of the auroral precipitation to the mid-latitudes along with interference among the various waveguide modes in the earth-ionosphere waveguide during the storm is suggested for the cause of observed VLF signals behaviors.
TL;DR: The first observation of an ionospheric disturbance from a gamma-ray burst is reported in this article, where the total fluence was 0.002 erg/sq cm, most of which occurred in the first 4 s of the burst.
Abstract: A first observation of an ionospheric disturbance from a gamma-ray burst is reported. The burst, GB30801, occurred at 22:14:18 UT on August 1, 1983, and was one of the strongest ever observed. The total fluence was 0.002 erg/sq cm, most of which occurred in the first 4 s of the burst. Simultaneously, a change was observed in the amplitude of a VLF radio signal from a transmitter in Rugby, England indicative of an ionospheric disturbance. Weaker disturbances were also recorded at the same receiving site on signals from VLF stations in Annapolis, Maryland and Lualualei, Hawaii. The times of the burst and the disturbances are coincident within the 10-s resolution of the VLF recording system. No similar disturbances were observed within 60 hr around the time of the burst. In the future, a network of VLF burst monitors may provide measurements of the total ionizing energy fluence from a burst, as well as some limited directional information.
TL;DR: In this article, the authors reproduce the deviation in VLF signal strength during solar flares by numerical modeling using GEANT4 Monte Carlo simulation code to compute the rate of ionization due to a M-class flare and a Xclass flare.
Abstract: . X-ray photons emitted during solar flares cause ionization in the lower ionosphere (~60 to 100 km) in excess of what is expected to occur due to a quiet sun. Very low frequency (VLF) radio wave signals reflected from the D-region of the ionosphere are affected by this excess ionization. In this paper, we reproduce the deviation in VLF signal strength during solar flares by numerical modeling. We use GEANT4 Monte Carlo simulation code to compute the rate of ionization due to a M-class flare and a X-class flare. The output of the simulation is then used in a simplified ionospheric chemistry model to calculate the time variation of electron density at different altitudes in the D-region of the ionosphere. The resulting electron density variation profile is then self-consistently used in the LWPC code to obtain the time variation of the change in VLF signal. We did the modeling of the VLF signal along the NWC (Australia) to IERC/ICSP (India) propagation path and compared the results with observations. The agreement is found to be very satisfactory.
TL;DR: In this article, the effect of solar X-ray radiation on the ionospheric D-region was investigated and the effective electron recombination coefficient (αeff) at solar flare peak region was calculated.
Abstract: Excess solar X-ray radiation during solar flares causes an enhancement of ionization in the ionospheric D-region and hence affects sub-ionospherically propagating VLF signal amplitude and phase. VLF signal amplitude perturbation (ΔA) and amplitude time delay (Δt) (vis-a-vis corresponding X-ray light curve as measured by GOES-15) of NWC/19.8 kHz signal have been computed for solar flares which is detected by us during Jan–Sep 2011. The signal is recorded by SoftPAL facility of IERC/ICSP, Sitapur (22∘ 27′N, 87∘ 45′E), West Bengal, India. In first part of the work, using the well known LWPC technique, we simulated the flare induced excess lower ionospheric electron density by amplitude perturbation method. Unperturbed D-region electron density is also obtained from simulation and compared with IRI-model results. Using these simulation results and time delay as key parameters, we calculate the effective electron recombination coefficient (αeff) at solar flare peak region. Our results match with the same obtained by other established models. In the second part, we dealt with the solar zenith angle effect on D-region during flares. We relate this VLF data with the solar X-ray data. We find that the peak of the VLF amplitude occurs later than the time of the X-ray peak for each flare. We investigate this so-called time delay (Δt). For the C-class flares we find that there is a direct correspondence between Δt of a solar flare and the average solar zenith angle Z over the signal propagation path at flare occurrence time. Now for deeper analysis, we compute the Δt for different local diurnal time slots DT. We find that while the time delay is anti-correlated with the flare peak energy flux ϕmax independent of these time slots, the goodness of fit, as measured by reduced-χ2, actually worsens as the day progresses. The variation of the Z dependence of reduced-χ2 seems to follow the variation of standard deviation of Z along the Tx-Rx propagation path. In other words, for the flares having almost constant Z over the path a tighter anti-correlation between Δt and ϕmax was observed.
TL;DR: In this article, the amplitude variation of the diurnal signal at each of these receiving stations in winter and summer was compared and the results generally agree with the signal shapes obtained using the long wave propagation capability code based on mode propagation through the Earth-ionosphere cavity.
Abstract: We have carried out 2 week-long campaigns in Indian winter and summer to study VLF signals from the Indian navy transmitter (VTX) operating at 18.2 kHz. We have used more than a dozen of receivers scattered throughout the Indian sub-continent in each of these campaigns. To our knowledge, this is the largest campaign of its kind in this region. The propagation paths range from 500 km to almost 3,000 km covering an area of about 4 million sq km. We have presented the results of the amplitude variation of the diurnal signal at each of these receiving stations in winter and summer and compare them. We have clearly found the non-reciprocity of the east to west and west to east propagation. Our results generally agree with the signal shapes obtained using the long wave propagation capability code based on mode propagation through the Earth-ionosphere cavity.
TL;DR: In this article, it was shown that when a very intense positive cloud to ground lightning stroke leads to an elve and a high altitude sprite, and possibly a sprite halo as well, there is production of long lasting elevations in electron density at VLF reflection heights that cause LOREs and severe effects on VlF propagation.
Abstract:  Observations show that intense +CG lightning discharges which trigger both an elve and a sprite are associated with long-lasting conductivity modifications in the upperD-region ionosphere. They are observed as strong perturbations in VLF signals propagating through the disturbed region, manifested asLOng Recovery Early VLF events (LORE), which can last up to 30 minutes. These same ionospheric modifications are also responsible for step-like changes, seen mostly in off-storm VLF transmissions, which offset signal levels even for longer times. The evidence suggests that when a very intense positive cloud to ground lightning stroke leads to an elve and a high altitude sprite, and possibly a sprite halo as well, there is production of long lasting elevations in electron density at VLF reflection heights that cause LOREs and severe effects on VLF propagation. The present results confirm past predictions and postulations that elves may be accompanied by long-lasting electron density perturbations in the lower ionosphere.
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01 Jan 1975