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Observation of Schumann Resonances in the Earth's IonosphereThe surface of the Earth and the lower edge of the ionosphere define a cavity in which electromagnetic waves propagate. When the cavity is excited by broadband electromagnetic sources, e.g., lightning, a resonant state can develop provided the average equatorial circumference is approximately equal to an integral number of wavelengths of the electromagnetic waves. This phenomenon, known as Schumann resonance, corresponds to electromagnetic oscillations of the surface-ionosphere cavity, and has been used extensively to investigate atmospheric electricity. Using measurements from the Communications/Navigation Outage Forecasting System (C/NOFS) satellite, we report, for the first time, Schumann resonance signatures detected well beyond the upper boundary of the cavity. These results offer new means for investigating atmospheric electricity, tropospheric-ionospheric coupling mechanisms related to lightning activity, and wave propagation in the ionosphere. The detection of Schumann resonances in the ionosphere calls for revisions to the existing models of extremely low frequency wave propagation in the surface-ionosphere cavity. Additionally, these measurements suggest new remote sensing capabilities for investigating atmospheric electricity at other planets.
Document ID
Acquisition Source
Goddard Space Flight Center
Document Type
Preprint (Draft being sent to journal)
Simoes, Fernando
(NASA Goddard Space Flight Center Greenbelt, MD, United States)
Pfaff, Robert
(NASA Goddard Space Flight Center Greenbelt, MD, United States)
Freudenreich, Henry
(ADNET Systems, Inc. MD, United States)
Date Acquired
August 25, 2013
Publication Date
January 1, 2011
Subject Category
Report/Patent Number
Distribution Limits
Work of the US Gov. Public Use Permitted.
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