Articles | Volume 29, issue 7
Regular paper
20 Jul 2011
Regular paper |  | 20 Jul 2011

Remote sensing planetary waves in the midlatitude mesosphere using low frequency transmitter signals

E. D. Schmitter

Abstract. Very low and low radio frequency (VLF/LF) propagation responds sensitively to the electron density distribution in the lower ionosphere (upper mesosphere). Whereas propagation paths crossing subpolar and polar regions are frequently affected by forcing from above by particle precipitations, mid- and lowlatitude paths let forcing from below be more prominent. Our observations (2009–2011) show, that the low frequency propagation conditions along the midlatitude path from Sicily to Germany (52° N 8° E) using the NSY 45.9 kHz transmitter (37° N 14° E) prove to be a good proxy of mesosphere planetary wave activity along the propagation path. High absorption events with VLF/LF propagation correlate to the well known winter time D-layer anomaly observed with high frequency (HF) radio waves. VLF/LF propagation calculations are presented which show that the radio signal amplitude variations can be modeled by planetary wave modulated collison frequency and electron density profiles. The other way around wave pressure amplitudes can be inferred from the VLF/LF data.