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Spatial correlation between lightning strikes and whistler observations
KTH, School of Electrical Engineering (EES), Space and Plasma Physics.
2008 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (Two Years)), 20 credits / 30 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

A whistler wave is a Very Low frequency (VLF) trace that obtains its characteristics from dispersive propagation in the magnetosphere. Field-aligned ducts of enhanced plasma density ensure the propagation from one hemisphere to the other. The origin of these signals is lightning strikes that emit radiation which spans the entire spectrum with the bulk being in the VLF band. The VLF portion can travel great distances within the Earth-ionosphere waveguide (EIWG) before penetrating through the ionosphere, and exciting a duct. The relative location, compared to the duct, of those strikes that cause whistlers is unknown. It is of interest to examine where the whistlers that have been observed at Tihany, Hungary, and Dunedin, Nerv Zealand, originate. This is one tool to gain further understanding of the properties, especially the plasma density structure, of the ionosphere and the magnetosphere. Therefore time series with observed whistlers from these stations has been correlated with lightning data obtained from the World Wide Lightning Location Network (WWLLN). The results show that whistlers observed at Tihany mainly originate from lightning in an area surrounding the magnetic conjugate point which is situated in the ocean just off East London, South Africa. This area, called the source region, has a radius slightly less than 1000 km. Whistlers also originate from lightning activity over the rest of Southern Africa and the northern parts of South America. A clear diurnal distinction is seen in that the correlation is maximized when the whistler station and the source region are covered in darkness. This is believed to relate to the diurnal variation of the ionospheric profile, which becomes more transparent to VLF waves at night. A similar diurnal correlation pattern for Dunedin was also obtained. The general correlation results for Dunedin were very sporadic. Whistler statistics for the two stations and lightning statistics for the Tihany's magnetic conjugate point are also presented. It reveals a general diurnal maximum in received whistlers in dark hours for Tihany with absolute maximum at 1 UTC and for Dunedin, the maximum occurs in the afternoon with absolute maximum at 15 UTC. It also reveals a seasonal maximum when the conjugate point is in the summer season. The lightning statistics for Tihany's magnetic conjugate point reveals a diurnal maximurn ranging from the afternoon until a couple of hour after midnight. Something worth noting is the delay between the peaks of lightning activity and whistler registration at Tihany. The lightning activity peaks around 18 UTC. The explanation is once again believed to relate to the behavior of the ionosphere in darkness.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2008. , 96 p.
Series
Trita-EE, ISSN 1653-5146 ; TRITA-EE 2008:021
National Category
Fusion, Plasma and Space Physics
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-91828OAI: oai:DiVA.org:kth-91828DiVA: diva2:511330
Educational program
Degree of Master
Uppsok
Physics, Chemistry, Mathematics
Supervisors
Examiners
Available from: 2012-03-21 Created: 2012-03-20 Last updated: 2012-04-10Bibliographically approved

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