Error sources and travel time residuals in plasmaspheric whistler interpretation

In the interpretation of observed whistlers by curve fitting, systematic travel time residuals appeared which were studied by extensive simulations using ray-tracing, numerical integration and curve fitting. The residuals were found to originate from the commonly used approximations in the refractive index and ray path of whistler mode waves, which result in travel time increments or decrements, not accounted for in whistler interpretation. These approximations and the assumed form of the electron density distribution also lead to systematic errors in the diagnostics of plasmaspheric electron density by whistlers. In addition, the effects of other error sources, including random measurement errors, are also reviewed briefly. It is shown that the fine structure of residual curves is connected to propagation conditions. Thus, their study may yield a new research tool for studying whistler trapping, ducting structures and other features of whistler propagation. The application of residual analysis in conjunction with digital matched filtering of whistlers seems to be especially promising for further whistler studies.


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Authors: Tarcsai, Gy., Strangeways, H.J., Rycroft, M.J.

1 April, 1989
Journal of Atmospheric and Terrestrial Physics / 51
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