Analysis of ELF Radio Atmospherics Radiated by Rocket-Triggered Lightning

Wednesday, 17 December 2014
Neal A Dupree, Robert C Moore, John Turk Pilkey, Martin A Uman, Douglas M Jordan, Jaime A Caicedo, Brian Hare and Terry K Ngin, University of Florida, Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering, Gainesville, FL, United States
Experimental observations of ELF radio atmospherics produced by rocket-triggered lightning flashes are used to analyze Earth-ionosphere waveguide excitation and propagation characteristics. Rocket-triggered lightning experiments are performed at the International Center for Lightning Research and Testing (ICLRT) located at Camp Blanding, Florida. Long-distance ELF observations are performed in California, Greenland, and Antarctica. The lightning current waveforms directly measured at the base of the lightning channel (at the ICLRT) along with pertinent Lightning Mapping Array (LMA) data are used together with the Long Wavelength Propagation Capability (LWPC) code to predict the radio atmospheric (sferic) waveform observed at the receiver locations under various ionospheric conditions. We identify fitted exponential electron density profiles that accurately describe the observed propagation delays, phase delays, and signal amplitudes. The ability to infer ionospheric characteristics using distant ELF observations greatly enhances ionospheric remote sensing capabilities, especially in regard to interpreting observations of transient luminous events (TLEs) and other ionospheric effects associated with lightning.