Determining the size of lightning-induced electron precipitation patches

[1] We analyze Trimpi signatures during 23 and 24 April 1994 at four sites on or near the Antarctic Peninsula (Palmer, Faraday, Rothera, and Halley) on subionospheric VLF signals received from four U. S. naval transmitters (NAA, NSS, NLK, and NPM). Electron precipitation patches are found to be large, i.e., similar to1500 km x 600 km, with the longer axis orientated east-west. Calculations using a three-dimensional Born scattering model, where patch densities are 1.5 electrons cm(-3) above ambient at the center at similar to84 km altitude, provides results that are consistent with this picture. A high proportion (38%) of the Trimpi events were associated with strong lightning flashes in eastern United States. When lightning discharges had currents >65 kA (positive or negative), there was a >80% chance of seeing an associated Trimpi event. The chance of seeing any Trimpi events fell to near zero for discharges of <45 kA. The largest Trimpi perturbations occur when the center of the precipitation patch is 700-800 km from the receivers. This result is consistent with the modeling calculations for large patches. The equatorward edge of the precipitation patch was estimated to be at &SIM;60&DEG;S, close to the magnetic conjugate of the lightning. The close association of the equatorward edge of the precipitation patch with the conjugate location of the causative lightning is consistent with a quasi-ducted whistler-induced precipitation mechanism. Nonducted whistler-induced precipitation mechanisms would predict a 5&DEG;-10&DEG; latitudinal gap between the lightning and the equatorward edge of the patch. However, the lack of observed whistlers at the time of the Trimpi events is consistent with the nonducted whistler mechanism and is not consistent with the quasi-ducted mechanism, although the distances from duct exit point to receiver may have been too large (&SIM;700-1000 km) for the signals to be detectable. Using the significantly larger patch dimensions determined in this study, it is estimated that lightning may well be 10-100 times more effective at depleting the radiation belts than hiss.


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Authors: Clilverd, Mark A. ORCIDORCID record for Mark A. Clilverd, Nunn, David, Lev-Tov, Sean J., Inan, Umran S., Dowden, Richard L., Rodger, Craig J., Smith, Andy J.

On this site: Mark Clilverd
1 January, 2002
Journal of Geophysical Research / 107
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