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: In this paper, the authors identify LORE as a distinct category of early VLF events, whose signature may occur either on its own or alongside the short-lived typical early events.
Abstract:  Subionospheric VLF recordings are investigated in relation with intense cloud-to-ground (CG) lightning data. Lightning impacts the lower ionosphere via heating and ionization changes which produce VLF signal perturbations known as early VLF events. Typically, early events recover in about 100 s, but a small subclass does not recover for many minutes, known as long-recovery early events (LORE). In this study, we identify LORE as a distinct category of early VLF events, whose signature may occur either on its own or alongside the short-lived typical early VLF event. Since LORE onsets coincide with powerful lightning strokes of either polarity (±), we infer that they are due to long-lasting ionization changes in the uppermost D region ionosphere caused by electromagnetic pulses emitted by strong ± CG lightning peak currents of typically > 250 kA, which are also known to generate elves. The LORE perturbations are detected when the discharge is located within ~250 km from the great circle path of a VLF transmitter-receiver link. The probability of occurrence increases with stroke intensity and approaches unity for discharges with peak currents ≥ ~300 kA. LOREs are nighttime phenomena that occur preferentially, at least in the present regional data set, during winter when strong ± CG discharges are more frequent and intense. The evidence suggests LORE as a distinct signature representing the VLF fingerprint of elves, a fact which, although was predicted by theory, it escaped identification in the long-going VLF research of lightning effects in the lower ionosphere.
TL;DR: In this paper, the phase response was found to be a non-linear function of solar obscuration with a maximum phase deviation which was less than expected when compared with the normal diurnal phase variation.
Abstract: VLF transmissions at 13.6 and 22.3 kHz from Omega Reunion, Omega Japan and NWC, were monitored at Melbourne during the total solar eclipse of 23 October 1976. The solar obscuration function for each path was calculated and compared with the phase deviation observed experimentally. The phase response was found to be a non-linear function of solar obscuration with a maximum phase deviation which was less than expected when compared with the normal diurnal phase variation. A differential equation was developed to model the observations. The effective time constant of ionospheric response was found to be four minutes and independent of reflection height.
TL;DR: In this paper, a week-long campaign was conducted in the Indian sub-continent to study the low-latitude D-region ionosphere using the very low frequency (VLF) signal from the Indian Navy transmitter (call sign: VTX3) operating at 18.2 kHz.
Abstract: During the total solar eclipse of 2009, a week-long campaign was conducted in the Indian sub-continent to study the low-latitude D-region ionosphere using the very low frequency (VLF) signal from the Indian Navy transmitter (call sign: VTX3) operating at 18.2 kHz. It was observed that in several places, the signal amplitude is enhanced while in other places the amplitude is reduced. We simulated the observational results using the well known Long Wavelength Propagation Capability (LWPC) code. As a first order approximation, the ionospheric parameters were assumed to vary according to the degree of solar obscuration on the way to the receivers. This automatically brought in non-uniformity of the ionospheric parameters along the propagation paths. We find that an assumption of 4 km increase of lower ionospheric height for places going through totality in the propagation path simulate the observations very well at Kathmandu and Raiganj. We find an increase of the height parameter by h ′ = + 3.0 km for the VTX-Malda path and h ′ = + 1.8 km for the VTX-Kolkata path. We also present, as an example, the altitude variation of electron number density throughout the eclipse time at Raiganj.
TL;DR: In this paper, the authors compared very low frequency (VLF) data recorded in the midwestern United States with sprite observations on three different dates of high sprite activity between 1995 and 2000.
Abstract:  Very low frequency (VLF) data recorded in the midwestern United States are compared with sprite observations on three different dates of high sprite activity between 1995 and 2000. Sprites are frequently seen to be correlated with “early/fast” events: perturbations of the amplitude and/or phase of a VLF transmitter signal propagating through the storm region. Unlike recent observations of Haldoupis et al. (2004), where a one-to-one relationship between forward scatter events and sprites was reported, only ∼48% of sprites in our cases are accompanied by VLF perturbations, or, viewed conversely, ∼61% of VLF perturbations are accompanied by sprites. The difference between the two data sets might be due to the relative location of the causative lightning along the VLF signal path (i.e., near transmitter or near receiver) in that mode coupling of the propagating VLF signal causes some perturbations to be undetectable at long distances from the disturbed region. In addition, there are quite a few cases of early/fast perturbations not accompanied by sprites, although not nearly the preponderance previously expected. In rare cases, observed VLF signal perturbations can only be explained by VLF backscatter from the sprite body because of the geometrical constraints that preclude other mechanisms, including forward scattering from elves or halos. However, such backscatter events are extremely rare and are found to occur only for the largest sprites in terms of their horizontal extent.
TL;DR: In this paper, the authors investigated the behavior of the low-latitude upper atmosphere during sudden stratospheric warming (SSW) events at varying levels of solar activity and found that the vertical coupling of atmospheres is stronger during strong major SSW events and these events play an important role in enabling the coupling even during high solar activity.
Abstract: Comprehensive behavior of the low-latitude upper atmosphere during sudden stratospheric warming (SSW) events at varying levels of solar activity has been investigated. The equatorial electrojet (EEJ) strength and the total electron content (TEC) data from low latitudes over Indian longitudes during the mid-winter season in the years 2005 to 2013 are used in this study. Five major and three minor SSW events occurred in the observation duration, wherein the solar activity had varied from minimum (almost no sunspots) to mini-maximum (approximately 50 sunspots of the solar cycle 24). Spectral powers of the large-scale planetary wave (PW) features in the EEJ and the TEC have been found to be varying with solar activity and SSW strengths. Specially, the spectral powers of quasi-16-day wave variations during the three very strong SSW events in the years 2006, 2009, and 2013 were found to be very high in comparison with those of other years. For these major events, the amplitudes of the semi-diurnal tides and quasi-16-day waves were found to be highly correlated and were maximum around the peak of SSW, suggesting a strong interaction between the two waves. However, this correlation was poor and the quasi-16-day spectral power was low for the minor events. A strong coupling of atmospheres was noted during a relatively high solar activity epoch of 2013 SSW, which was, however, explained to be due to the occurrence of a strong SSW event. These results suggest that the vertical coupling of atmospheres is stronger during strong major SSW events and these events play an important role in enabling the coupling even during high solar activity.
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