Role of the plasmapause in dictating the ground accessibility of ELF/VLF chorus

This study explores the manner in which the plasmapause is responsible for dictating which magnetospheric source regions of ELF/VLF chorus are able to propagate to and be received by midlatitude stations on the ground. First, we explore the effects of plasmapause extent on ground‐based observations of chorus via a 3 month study of ground‐based measurements of chorus at Palmer Station, Antarctica (L = 2.4, 50°S geomagnetic latitude), and data on the plasmapause extent from the IMAGE EUV instrument. It is found that chorus normalized occurrence peaks when the plasmapause is at L ∼ 2.6, somewhat higher than Palmer's L shell, and that this occurrence peak persists across a range of observed chorus frequencies. Next, reverse ray tracing is employed to evaluate the portion of the equatorial chorus source region, distributed in radial distance and wave normal, from which chorus is able to reach Palmer Station via propagation in a nonducted mode. The results of ray tracing are similar to those of observations, with a peak of expected occurrence when the plasmapause is at L ∼ 3. The exact location of the peak is frequency dependent. This supports the conclusion that the ability of chorus to propagate to low altitudes and the ground is a strong function of instantaneous plasmapause extent and that peak occurrence of chorus at a given ground station may occur when the L shell of the plasmapause is somewhat beyond that of the observing station. These results also suggest that chorus observed on the ground at midlatitude stations propagates predominantly in the nonducted mode.


Publication status:
Authors: Golden, D.I., Spasojevic, M., Foust, F.R., Lehtinen, N.G., Meredith, N.P. ORCIDORCID record for N.P. Meredith, Inan, U.S.

On this site: Nigel Meredith
17 November, 2010
Journal of Geophysical Research / 115
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