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Annales Geophysicae An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Volume 20, issue 1
Ann. Geophys., 20, 69–80, 2002
https://doi.org/10.5194/angeo-20-69-2002
© Author(s) 2002. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
Ann. Geophys., 20, 69–80, 2002
https://doi.org/10.5194/angeo-20-69-2002
© Author(s) 2002. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

  31 Jan 2002

31 Jan 2002

Low frequency modulation of transionospheric radio wave amplitude at low-latitudes: possible role of field line oscillations

A. K. Sinha, B. M. Pathan, R. Rajaram, and D. R. K. Rao A. K. Sinha et al.
  • Indian Institute of Geomagnetism, Dr. Nanabhai Moos Marg, Colaba, Bombay 400 005, India
  • Correspondence to: A. K. Sinha (ashwini@iig.iigm.res.in)

Abstract. Ionospheric scintillations of radio waves at low-latitudes are associated with electron density irregularities. These irregularities are field-aligned and can provide excitation energy all along the field line to non-local field-aligned oscillations, such as the local field line oscillations. Eigen-periods of toroidal field line oscillations at low-latitudes, computed by using the dipole magnetic field and ion distributions obtained from the International Reference Ionosphere (IRI) for typical nighttime conditions, fall in the range of 20–25 s. When subjected to spectral analysis, signal strength of the radio waves recorded on the 250 MHz beacon at Pondicherry (4.5° N dip), Mumbai (13.4° N dip) and Ujjain (18.6° N dip) exhibit periodicities in the same range. For the single event for which simultaneous ground magnetic data were available, the geomagnetic field also oscillated at the same periodicity. The systematic presence of a significant peak in the 20–25 s range during periods of strong radio wave scintillations, and its absence otherwise suggests the possibility that field line oscillations are endogenously excited by the irregularities, and the oscillations associated with the excited field line generate the modulation characteristics of the radio waves received on the ground. The frequency of modulation is found to be much lower than the characteristic frequencies that define the main body of scintillations, and they probably correspond to scales that are much larger than the typical Fresnel scale. It is possible that the refractive mechanism associated with larger scale long-lived irregularities could be responsible for the observed phenomenon. Results of a preliminary numerical experiment that uses a sinusoidal phase irregularity in the ionosphere as a refracting media are presented. The results show that phase variations which are large enough to produce a focal plane close to the ground can reproduce features that are not inconsistent with our observations.

Key words. Magnetospheric physics (magnetosphere – ionosphere interactions) Ionosphere (ionosphere – magnetoshere interactions; ionospheric irregularities)

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