Correlational Analysis of the ELF – VLF Nighttime Atmospherics Parameters

  • Yulia Gorishnya O. Ya. Usikov Institute for Radiophysics and Electronics of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine, Ac. Proskury str. 12, Kharkiv, 61085, Ukraine
  • Alisa Shvets O. Ya. Usikov Institute for Radiophysics and Electronics of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine, Ac. Proskury str. 12, Kharkiv, 61085, Ukraine
Keywords: lower ionosphere diagnostic, ELF – VLF radiowaves, tweek-atmospherics, lightning location


Tweek-atmospherics (tweeks), along with radio transmission by VLF radio stations, are used to study the lower ionosphere. Electromagnetic pulse radiation, which has been excited by the lightning discharges, has a maximum spectral density at extra low frequencies range (ELF, 300...3000 Hz) and very low frequencies (VLF, 3...30 kHz). The Earth-ionosphere cavity serves as a waveguide for electromagnetic waves in these frequency ranges. On the spectrogram of the tweek, the initial part is a linearly polarized broadband signal, and then a number of individual harmonics are observed. Their instantaneous frequencies decrease, asymptotically approaching approximately multiples of the cutoff frequencies of the waveguide. The single position method for lightning location and estimation of the ELF wave’s reflection heights in the lower ionosphere by tweeks has been implemented into the computational algorithm. The clusters with approximately the same azimuths and distances to sources which have been obtained during the same night have been identified upon the ensemble of tweek-atmospheric records. The data were accumulated at the Ukrainian Antarctic Station "Akademik Vernadsky" in 2019. The location of the receiving complex in the near-polar region makes it possible to register tweek sources in two world thunderstorm centers with geographic azimuths from –60° to 130°. The results of processing these data have been used by studying the correlation matrix and partial correlation coefficients to identify causal relationships between the three main parameters of the tweek, such as (1) the average azimuth of the arrival of tweeks in regard to the magnetic meridian, (2) the average distance to the center of the cluster of tweek sources (lightning discharges), and (3) the average number of tweek harmonics. The same correlation analysis was applied to two groups with distances to sources of 2.2...7.5 Mm and 7.6...9.5 Mm used for study in detail. It is shown that the partial correlation coefficients between the number of tweek harmonics and the difference of the magnetic azimuth from the magnetic east are 0.624 (for the entire range of distances), 0.696 (for far tweek sources) and 0.595 (for main middle range), so, they always exceed the values of 0.1% significance level. The correlation of tweek spectrum with the distance to the tweek source in the range of 2.2…7.5 Mm has been shown to be comparable in magnitude or to exceed the correlation of tweek spectrum with the magnetic azimuth. The elimination of this masking effect by calculating the partial correlation coefficients made it possible to reveal the magnetic azimuth dependences of the tweek spectra if tweek propagates in a region outside the geomagnetic equator. Thus, the effect of non-reciprocity of propagation of ELF – VLF waves in regard to the magnetic meridian in the east – west and west – east directions is found in the spectra of tweek-atmospherics. It results in an increased probability of detecting tweeks with higher harmonics if their directions of arrival are close to the geomagnetic east. It is also shown that this effect, as a result of increased attenuation during the propagation of ELF – VLF radiation from the west and weakened attenuation during propagation from the east, leads to a highly significant correlation (with probability level more than 99.9%) between the magnetic azimuths of tweeks and the lengths of their paths to the receiving station.


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