Observations of the coupling efficiency of VLF lightning-generated whistlers into the low-latitude plasmasphere

Thursday, 18 December 2014
Abram R Jacobson1, Robert H Holzworth II1, Robert F Pfaff Jr2 and Roderick A Heelis3, (1)University of Washington Seattle Campus, Department of Earth and Space Sciences, Seattle, WA, United States, (2)NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Heliophysics Sci. Div., Greenbelt, MD, United States, (3)University Texas Dallas, Richardson, TX, United States
The C/NOFS satellite [de La Beaujardiere, 2004] has provided a vast archive of multi-sensor data on the low-latitude ionosphere/plasmasphere since 2008. As part of the project, the VEFI payload [Pfaff et al., 2010] has recorded the 3-D electric field from DC through 16 kHz with high fidelity. The relative calibrations track between the three E-field antennas with sufficient accuracy and stability to allow retrieval of the wave polarization for a wide range of lightning-generated whistler waves [Jacobson et al., 2014]. The wave polarization in turn allows retrieval of the wavevector (within a sign ambiguity), which in turn allows an inverse-raytrace of the whistler raypath from the satellite to the ionospheric entry point. We will compare the raytrace predictions with ground-truth from the WWLLN global lightning-monitoring system [Lay et al., 2004; Rodger et al., 2005; Rodger et al., 2004]. In addition to providing location and time of lightning strokes, WWLLN provides an estimate of the radiated radio energy in the whistler passband [Hutchins et al., 2012]. Finally, the CINDI payload [Heelis et al., 2009] on C/NOFS provides ion composition at the satellite, permitting the index of refraction to be inferred. We will compare these estimates to the Poynting fluence density observed by VEFI, thereby providing a direct test of the coupling of lightning radio energy into plasmaspheric whistlers.