The Source Regions of Whistlers

Dávid Koronczay, J. Lichtenberger, Mark A. Clilverd, Craig J. Rodger, Stefan I. Lotz, Dmitry V. Sannikov, Nina V. Cherneva, Tero Raita, Fabien Darrouzet, Sylvain Ranvier, Robert C. Moore

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

We present a new method for identifying the source regions of lightning-generated whistlers observed at a fixed location. In addition to the spatial distribution of causative lightning discharges, we calculate the ratio of lightning discharges transmitted into ground detectable whistlers as a function of location. Our method relies on the time of the whistlers and the time and source location of spherics from a global lightning database. We apply this method to whistlers recorded at 15 ground-based stations in the Automatic Whistler Detector and Analyzer Network operating between 2007 and 2018 and to located lightning strokes from the World Wide Lightning Location Network database. We present the obtained maps of causative lightning and transmission rates. Our results show that the source region of whistlers corresponding to each ground station is around the magnetic conjugate point of the respective station. The size of the source region is typically less than 2,000 km in radius with a small fraction of sources extending to up to 3,500 km. The transmission ratio is maximal at the conjugate point and decreases with increasing distance from it. This conforms to the theory that whistlers detected on the ground propagated in a ducted mode through the plasmasphere, and thus, the lightning strokes of their causative spherics must cluster around the footprint of the ducts in the other hemisphere. Our method applied resolves the whistler excitation region mystery that resulted from correlation-based analysis methods, concerning the source region of whistlers detected in Dunedin, New Zealand.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 2019

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Keywords

  • ducted
  • lightning
  • sferics
  • VLF
  • whistlers

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geophysics
  • Forestry
  • Oceanography
  • Aquatic Science
  • Ecology
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Soil Science
  • Geochemistry and Petrology
  • Earth-Surface Processes
  • Atmospheric Science
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Space and Planetary Science
  • Palaeontology

Cite this

Koronczay, D., Lichtenberger, J., Clilverd, M. A., Rodger, C. J., Lotz, S. I., Sannikov, D. V., Cherneva, N. V., Raita, T., Darrouzet, F., Ranvier, S., & Moore, R. C. (2019). The Source Regions of Whistlers. Journal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics. https://doi.org/10.1029/2019JA026559