The influence of ionospheric absorption on mid-latitude whistler mode signal occurrence from VLF transmitters
Whistler mode signals from VLF transmitters received at Faraday, Antarctica (65° S, 64° W) during 1986–1991 show an annual variation in the number of hours over which signals are observed, with a maximum in June and a minimum in December. The variation was larger at solar minimum than at maximum and can be understood in terms of changes in absorption of VLF signals in the D-region, where the high geographic latitude of Faraday plays an important role in producing low attenuation levels during the austral winter. In contrast, very little such variation was observed at Dunedin, New Zealand (46° S, 171° E) in 1991. Nighttime whistler mode signals have start and end time trends that are consistent with the influence of F-region absorption. Increases in whistler mode occurrence appear to be associated with periods of high geomagnetic activity at solar maximum but not during solar minimum. A possible mechanism involving decreased F-region absorption is discussed.