Sub-ionospheric VLF signal anomaly due to geomagnetic storms: a statistical study
- 1Department of Communication Engineering and Informatics, The University of Electro-Communications, Tokyo, Japan
- 2Earth Environment Research Station, The University of Electro-Communications, Tokyo, Japan
- 3Indian Centre for Space Physics, Kolkata, India
- 4Department of Automatic Control and Systems Engineering, University of Sheffield, Sheffield, UK
Abstract. We investigate quantitatively the effect of geomagnetic storms on the sub-ionospheric VLF/LF (Very Low Frequency/Low Frequency) propagations for different latitudes based on 2-year nighttime data from Japanese VLF/LF observation network. Three statistical parameters such as average signal amplitude, variability of the signal amplitude, and nighttime fluctuation were calculated daily for 2 years for 16–21 independent VLF/LF transmitter–receiver propagation paths consisting of three transmitters and seven receiving stations. These propagation paths are suitable to simultaneously study high-latitude, low-mid-latitude and mid-latitude D/E-region ionospheric properties. We found that these three statistical parameters indicate significant anomalies exceeding at least 2 times of their standard deviation from the mean value during the geomagnetic storm time period in the high-latitude paths with an occurrence rate of anomaly between 40 and 50 % presumably due to the auroral energetic electron precipitation. The mid-latitude and low-mid-latitude paths have a smaller influence from the geomagnetic activity because of a lower occurrence rate of anomalies even during the geomagnetically active time period (from 20 to 30 %). The anomalies except geomagnetic storm periods may be caused by atmospheric and/or lithospheric origins. The statistical occurrence rates of ionospheric anomalies for different latitudinal paths during geomagnetic storm and non-storm time periods are basic and important information not only to identify the space weather effects toward the lower ionosphere depending on the latitudes but also to separate various external physical causes of lower ionospheric disturbances.