Midlatitude daytime D region ionosphere variations measured from radio atmospherics
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We measured the midlatitude daytime ionospheric D region electron density profile height variations in July and August 2005 near Duke University by using radio atmospherics (or sferics for short), which are the high-power, broadband very low frequency (VLF) signals launched by lightning discharges. As expected, the measured daytime D region electron density profile heights showed temporal variations quantitatively correlated with solar zenith angle changes. In the midlatitude geographical regions near Duke University, the observed quiet time heights decreased from ∼80 km near sunrise to ∼71 km near noon when the solar zenith angle was minimum. The measured height quantitative dependence on the solar zenith angle was slightly different from the low-latitude measurement given in a previous work. We also observed unexpected spatial variations not linked to the solar zenith angle on some days, with 15% of days exhibiting regional differences larger than 0.5 km. In these 2 months, 14 days had sudden height drops caused by solar flare X-rays, with a minimum height of 63.4 km observed. The induced height change during a solar flare event was approximately proportional to the logarithm of the X-ray flux. In the long waveband (wavelength, 1-8 Å), an increase in flux by a factor of 10 resulted in 6.3 km decrease of the height at the flux peak time, nearly a perfect agreement with the previous measurement. During the rising and decaying phases of the solar flare, the height changes correlated more consistently with the short, rather than the long, wavelength X-ray flux changes. © 2010 by the American Geophysical Union.
Published Version (Please cite this version)10.1029/2010JA015715
Publication InfoHan, F; & Cummer, SA (2010). Midlatitude daytime D region ionosphere variations measured from radio atmospherics. Journal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics, 115(10). pp. A10314. 10.1029/2010JA015715. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10161/4180.
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William H. Younger Distinguished Professor of Engineering
Dr. Steven Cummer received his Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering from Stanford University in 1997 and prior to joining Duke University in 1999 he spent two years at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center as an NRC postdoctoral research associate. Awards he has received include a National Science Foundation CAREER award and a Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE) in 2001. His current work is in a variety of theoretical and experimental electromagnetic problems related to g