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Title: Electric Mode Excitation in the Atmosphere by Magnetospheric Impulses and ULF Waves
Variations of vertical atmospheric electric field E z have been attributed mainly to meteorological processes. On the other hand, the theory of electromagnetic waves in the atmosphere, between the bottom ionosphere and earth’s surface, predicts two modes, magnetic H (TE) and electric E (TH) modes, where the E-mode has a vertical electric field component, E z . Past attempts to find signatures of ULF (periods from fractions to tens of minutes) disturbances in E z gave contradictory results. Recently, study of ULF disturbances of atmospheric electric field became feasible thanks to project GLOCAEM, which united stations with 1 sec measurements of potential gradient. These data enable us to address the long-standing problem of the coupling between atmospheric electricity and space weather disturbances at ULF time scales. Also, we have reexamined results of earlier balloon-born electric field and ground magnetic field measurements in Antarctica. Transmission of storm sudden commencement (SSC) impulses to lower latitudes was often interpreted as excitation of the electric TH 0 mode, instantly propagating along the ionosphere–ground waveguide. According to this theoretical estimate, even a weak magnetic signature of the E-mode ∼1 nT must be accompanied by a burst of E z well exceeding the atmospheric potential gradient. We have more » examined simultaneous records of magnetometers and electric field-mills during >50 SSC events in 2007–2019 in search for signatures of E-mode. However, the observed E z disturbance never exceeded background fluctuations ∼10 V/m, much less than expected for the TH 0 mode. We constructed a model of the electromagnetic ULF response to an oscillating magnetospheric field-aligned current incident onto the realistic ionosphere and atmosphere. The model is based on numerical solution of the full-wave equations in the atmospheric-ionospheric collisional plasma, using parameters that were reconstructed using the IRI model. We have calculated the vertical and horizontal distributions of magnetic and electric fields of both H- and E-modes excited by magnetospheric field-aligned currents. The model predicts that the excitation rate of the E-mode by magnetospheric disturbances is low, so only a weak E z response with a magnitude of ∼several V/m will be produced by ∼100 nT geomagnetic disturbance. However, at balloon heights (∼30 km), electric field of the E-mode becomes dominating. Predicted amplitudes of horizontal electric field in the atmosphere induced by Pc5 pulsations and travelling convection vortices, about tens of mV/m, are in good agreement with balloon electric field and ground magnetometer observations. « less
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Frontiers in Earth Science
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National Science Foundation
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