Multiple-Station Observation of Frequency Dependence and Polarization Characteristics of ELF/VLF waves generated via Ionospheric Modification

Monday, 15 December 2014
Ashanthi Shanika Maxworth1, Mark Golkowski1, Morris Cohen2 and Robert C Moore3, (1)University of Colorado Denver, Denver, CO, United States, (2)Georgia Institute of Technology Main Campus, Atlanta, GA, United States, (3)University of Florida, Ft Walton Beach, FL, United States
Generation of Extremely Low Frequency (ELF) and Very Low Frequency (VLF) signals through ionospheric modification has been practiced for many years. Heating the lower ionosphere with high power HF waves allows for modulation of natural current systems.

Our experiments were carried out at the High Frequency Active Auroral Research Program (HAARP) facility in Alaska, USA. In this experiment, the ionosphere was heated with a vertical amplitude modulating signal and the modulation frequency was changed sequentially within an array of 40 frequencies followed by a frequency ramp.

The observed magnetic field amplitude and polarization of the generated ELF/VLF signals were analyzed for multiple sites and as a function of modulation frequency. Our three observation sites: Chistochina, Paxson and Paradise are located within 36km (azimuth 47.7°), 50.2km (azimuth -20°) and 99km (azimuth 80.3°) respectively.

We show that the peak amplitudes observed as a function of frequency result from vertical resonance in the Earth-ionosphere waveguide and can be used to diagnose the D-region profile. Polarization analysis showed that out of the three sites Paxson shows the highest circularity in the magnetic field polarization, compared to Chistochina and Paradise which show highly linear polarizations.

The experimental results were compared with a theoretical simulation model results and it was clear that in both cases, the modulated Hall current dominates the observed signals at Chistochina and Paradise sites and at Paxson there is an equal contribution from Hall and Pedersen currents.

The Chistochina site shows the highest magnetic field amplitudes in both experimental and simulation environments. Depending upon the experimental and simulation observations at the three sites, a radiation pattern for the HAARP ionospheric heater can be mapped