Articles | Volume 28, issue 1
13 Jan 2010
 | 13 Jan 2010

Whistler intensities above thunderstorms

J. Fiser, J. Chum, G. Diendorfer, M. Parrot, and O. Santolik

Abstract. We report a study of penetration of the VLF electromagnetic waves induced by lightning to the ionosphere. We compare the fractional hop whistlers recorded by the ICE experiment onboard the DEMETER satellite with lightning detected by the EUCLID detection network. To identify the fractional hop whistlers, we have developed software for automatic detection of the fractional-hop whistlers in the VLF spectrograms. This software provides the detection times of the fractional hop whistlers and the average amplitudes of these whistlers. Matching the lightning and whistler data, we find the pairs of causative lightning and corresponding whistler. Processing data from ~200 DEMETER passes over the European region we obtain a map of mean amplitudes of whistler electric field as a function of latitudinal and longitudinal difference between the location of the causative lightning and satellite magnetic footprint. We find that mean whistler amplitude monotonically decreases with horizontal distance up to ~1000 km from the lightning source. At larger distances, the mean whistler amplitude usually merges into the background noise and the whistlers become undetectable. The maximum of whistler intensities is shifted from the satellite magnetic footprint ~1° owing to the oblique propagation. The average amplitude of whistlers increases with the lightning current. At nighttime (late evening), the average amplitude of whistlers is about three times higher than during the daytime (late morning) for the same lightning current.