A new VLF method for studying burst precipitation near the plasmapause

VLF signals in the 2–4 kHz range transmitted from Siple Station, Antarctica (L ∼ 4.3), and received at various Antarctic locations have been used to detect the occurrence of burst precipitation of electrons (E ≥ 50 keV) into the nighttime lower ionosphere. The receiving stations, each ∼1400 km from Siple, were located to the north at Palmer (L ∼ 2.3), to the east at Halley (L ∼ 4.3), and to the south at South Pole (Λ ∼ 74°). Rapid changes in the received phase and amplitude of the Siple signal (“Trimpi events”) were observed in conjunction with the reception of one‐hop whistlers. In one case involving propagation paths lying poleward of the plasmapause, amplitude decreases by ∼20% in ∼2 s, decaying in ∼7 s, were recorded simultaneously at Halley and South Pole. Post facto analysis of the South Pole records using a new digital processing scheme showed corresponding fast phase advances of ∼15 µs. In a case of phase perturbations at Palmer, the Siple signal path crossed the plasmapause projection, and the associated whistlers propagated in the outer plasmasphere. Phase measurements appear to be a particularly sensitive means of detecting burst precipitation activity under experimental conditions of the kind described. The length and spatial distribution of the signal paths provide a basis for studying the occurrence and approximate location of burst precipitation in regions outside the observing range of most instruments used for detection of precipitation. Direction finding on correlated whistler events as well as dispersion analysis may be used to increase the spatial resolution of the method.


Publication status:
Authors: Carpenter, D.L., Inan, U.S., Paschal, E.W., Smith, A.J.

1 January, 1985
Journal of Geophysical Research / 90
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