Further Studies of Ground-Level Auroral Kilometric Radiation

Monday, 15 December 2014
James W Labelle1, Xi Yan1, Sarah Pasternak1, Matt Broughton1, Allan T Weatherwax2, Hirotsugu Kojima3 and Roger R Anderson4, (1)Dartmouth College, Hanover, NH, United States, (2)Siena College, Physics, Loudonville, NY, United States, (3)Kyoto University, Kyoto, Japan, (4)University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA, United States
Following up initial observations of coincident ground-level AKR-like signals and outgoing AKR measured with the GEOTAIL satellite [LaBelle and Anderson, Geophys. Res. Lett., L04104, doi:10.1029/2010GL046411, 2011], investigation of 2008 data from four Antarctic observatories yields 37 additional examples. The occurrence rate of the ground-level AKR-like signals peaks near 22 UT similar to that of AKR. Because the distant satellite observes AKR from many sources, and because many effects can hinder transmission of AKR from the sources to either the distant satellite or the ground, a perfect correlation between ground-level AKR-like signals and outgoing AKR at GEOTAIL is not expected, and indeed correlation analysis of the ten longest-duration events suggests an imperfect correlation with 2-3 sigma significance, although at time much better correlations occur. Statistical analysis of the existing data is therefore suggestive but not does not prove a connection between the ground-level AKR-like signals and outgoing AKR. Two other methods provide strong evidence in favor of a connection between the phenomena, however. The first full-resolution measurements of ground-level AKR using a digital receiver at South Pole Station show that its fine structure closely resembles that of AKR measured by spacecraft receivers and is completely different from that of auroral hiss, the other auroral emission in the kilometric wavelength range. The digital receiver also determined the polarization of the AKR-like emissions to be right-hand, implying propagation in the whistler mode in the ionosphere. A weaker form of evidence comes from considering the locations of the ground station, satellite, and active aurora during coincident events. Two case studies suggest that the location of the active aurora, presumed connected with the AKR sources, controls whether or not the ground station detects the AKR, or which of several ground stations detects it most strongly. Taken together, these investigations significantly strengthen the hypothesis that through some unknown mechanism, the sources of outgoing AKR detected by distant satellites on occasion generate signals which are detectable as whistler mode waves at low altitude or right-hand polarized signals at ground level.