Orientation of the HAARP ELF ionospheric dipole and the auroralelectrojet
M. B. Cohen,
and U. S. Inan
Received 2 November 2007; revised 3 December 2007; accepted 10 December 2007; published 23 January 2008.
] The HF heating facility of the High Frequency ActiveAuroral Research Program (HAARP), located near Gakona,Alaska, generates ELF (300 Hz - 3 kHz) waves viamodulated HF (2.7–10 MHz) heating of the auroralelectrojet. Using two ELF/VLF receivers at
700 kmfrom HAARP, the orientation of the equivalent ELFradiating ionospheric dipole is inferred from the relativestrength and Earth-ionosphere waveguide modal content of signals received. In several cases analyzed the effectiveHAARP electric dipole orientation is generally alongmagnetic east-west direction. A new metric is introducedto evaluate the validity of the determination of sourcecharacteristics with medium and long-range ELF/VLFmeasurements. Results are put into context of the auroralelectrojet, indicating the possibility of studying small-scaleelectrojet structure not observable with magnetometers.
Cohen, M. B., M. Go1
kowski, and U. S. Inan (2008),Orientation of the HAARP ELF ionospheric dipole and theauroral electrojet,
Geophys. Res. Lett.
, L02806, doi:10.1029/ 2007GL032424.
] Modulation of natural ionospheric currents to gener-ate ELF (300 Hz–3 kHz) radiation has been investigatedtheoretically and experimentally since the first observations by
Getmantsev et al.
. Since efficient ELF radiatingantennae require prohibitively large physical sizes, harness-ing the natural ionospheric currents (
75–100 km) at highlatitudes by modulated heating with HF (2.7–10 MHz)waves is an attractive alternative. Nonlinear HF to ELFconversion occurs via absorption-induced changes in theelectron temperature and thus the ionospheric conductivi-ties. The effectiveness of such an ELF radiator is a functionof the ambient current distribution and electron density, aswell as electron heating and cooling rates, which are highlyvariable [
] The European Incoherent Scatter (EISCAT) Associa-tion HF heating facility near Tromsø, Norway generatesELF/VLF signals with ground-based amplitudes of up to1 pT. The Tromsø data, and corresponding theoreticalinterpretations, are reported in a long series of papers[e.g.,
Stubbe and Kopka
, 1983]. The 1 MW radiated,200–300 MW ERP Tromsø HF heater was typically100% square wave amplitude modulated at HF frequenciesfrom 2.75 to 8 MHz.[
] HF ionospheric heating facilities at Arecibo, PuertoRico, and the High Power Auroral Stimulation (HIPAS),near Fairbanks, Alaska, have done similar experiments. At Arecibo, the equatorial dynamo current was modulated with800 kW to produce 500 Hz - 5 kHz waves [
Ferraro et al.
,1982]. At HIPAS, ELF/VLF waves were produced most successfully when the electrojet was overhead, when therewas low D region absorption, and when visible aurora werenot present [
Villasen˜or et al.
] The HAARP heating facility in Gakona, Alaska(62.39
W) injects ELF/VLF waves in theEarth-ionosphere wave-guide as far as 4400 km [
Moore et al.
, 2007] and also into space [
Inan et al.
, 2004]. HAARPhas recently been upgraded to a total radiated power of 3.6 MW, and an ERP capability of
400 MWat 3.25 MHz.In this paper, we present a new method to determine theeffective ELF dipole characteristics using observations at medium distances (
2. Description of Data
] ELF/VLF data are taken with the AWESOMEreceiver. These broadband, high-sensitivity ELF/VLFreceivers consist of two orthogonal air-core loop antennae,measuring the two horizontal components of the magneticfield as low as a few femtotesla. Data is synchronized toGPS. The three relevant receivers are shown in Figure 1a.[
] Near field ELF measurements (within
50 km of HAARP) show high variability, making decoupling of effects of various dependencies difficult. Furthermore, thecavity resonator formed by the Earth and ionosphere domi-nates the frequency response, producing strong resonances at multiples of
2 kHz [
Stubbe and Kopka
, 1983]. However,the Earth-ionosphere waveguide allow only certain modes to propagate to longer distances, facilitating easier decoupling.[
] On the other hand, subionospheric propagation is alsointrinsically variable. Numerical models of the propagationof ELF/VLF signals in the Earth-ionosphere waveguiderequire as input the electron density profiles all along the propagation path, which are highly variable and typicallynot known. There may therefore be an optimal distance,long enough for properties to be dominated by waveguidemodes, but short enough to minimize effects of ionosphericvariations over the propagation path. Observed signals maythen be more directly linked to the source current geometry.[
] At frequencies <3 kHz, the three basic propagatingEarth-ionosphere wave-guide modes are the quasi-transverseelectromagnetic mode (qTEM), with magnetic field hori-zontal and transverse to propagation path, existing at allfrequencies but with higher attenuation with increasingfrequency [
Inan and Inan
, 2000, p. 255]. The quasi-transverse magnetic mode (qTM) has magnetic fieldsaligned in the same way but propagates only above thefirst order ionospheric cutoff (
1.8 kHz). The quasi-
GEOPHYSICAL RESEARCH LETTERS, VOL. 35, L02806, doi:10.1029/2007GL032424, 2008
STAR Lab, Stanford University, Stanford, California, USA.Copyright 2008 by the American Geophysical Union.0094-8276/08/2007GL032424$05.00
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