A 25-year record of 10 kHz sferics noise in Antarctica: Implications for tropical lightning levels

We report measured levels of very low frequency (VLF) radio noise at ∼10 kHz, due to lightning sferics, observed at Halley Station, Antarctica (76°S, 27°W) between 1971 and 1996. The observed VLF noise levels at Halley are a product of the thunderstorm source function and the transfer function for propagation to the receiver in the waveguide formed by the Earth's surface and the ionosphere. Least squares fitting enables us to confirm the characteristic diurnal, annual and semi-annual periodicities found by the present authors in a separate paper. That method and also cross correlation of annual averaged 10 kHz VLF power with sunspot number shows a ∼4 dB peak-to-peak fluctuation at the ∼11-year solar cycle period, believed to be due to the influence of EUV flux on the the ionospheric D region. Finally we constrain any linear trend to 1.4±2.6 dB in 25 years. If a positive trend is present and is interpreted as a change in tropical South American lightning flash rate, it is less than 10%.


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Authors: Watkins, Nicholas W., Clilverd, Mark A. ORCIDORCID record for Mark A. Clilverd, Smith, Andy J., Yearby, Keith H.

On this site: Mark Clilverd
1 January, 1998
Geophysical Research Letters / 25
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