Observed propagation route of VLF transmitter signals in the magnetosphere

Signals of powerful ground transmitters at various places have been detected by satellites in near-Earth space. The study on propagation mode, ducted or nonducted, has attracted much attentions for several decades. Based on the statistical results from Van Allen Probes (data from Oct. 2012 to Mar. 2017) and DEMETER satellite (from Jan. 2006 to Dec. 2007), we present the ground transmitter signals distributed clearly in ionosphere and magnetosphere. The observed propagation route in the meridian plane in the magnetosphere for each of various transmitters from the combination of DEMETER and Van Allen Probes data in night time is revealed for the first time. We use realistic ray tracing simulation and compare simulation results against Van Allen Probes and DEMETER observation. By comparison we demonstrate that the observed propagation route, with partial deviation from the field lines corresponding to ground stations, provides direct and clear statistical evidence that the nonducted propagation mode plays a main role, although with partial contribution from ducted propagation. The propagation characteristics of VLF transmitter signals in the magnetosphere are critical for quantitatively assessing their contribution to energetic electron loss in radiation belts.
Year of Publication
Journal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics
Date Published