Generation of ELF and ULF electromagnetic waves by modulated heating of the ionospheric F2 region

Eliasson, Bengt and Chang, C.-L. and Papadopoulos, Dennis K. (2012) Generation of ELF and ULF electromagnetic waves by modulated heating of the ionospheric F2 region. Journal of Geophysical Research, 117 (A10). A10320. (

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We present a theoretical and numerical study of the generation of extremely low frequency (ELF) and ultra-low frequency (ULF) waves by the modulation of the electron pressure at the F2-region with an intense high-frequency electromagnetic wave. The study is based on a cold plasma Hall-MHD model, including electron-neutral and ion-neutral collisions, which governs the dynamics of magnetostatic waves and their propagation through the ionospheric layers. Magnetosonic waves generated in the F2 region are propagating isotropically and are channeled in the ionospheric waveguide, while shear Alfvén waves are propagating along the magnetic field. To penetrate the ionosphere from the F2 peak at 300 km to the ground, the magnetostatic waves first propagate as magnetosonic or shear Alfvén waves that encounter a diffusive layer from about 150 km to 120 km where the Pedersen conductivity dominates, and then as helicon (whistler-like) mode waves from about 120 km to 80 km where the ions are collisionally glued to the neutrals and the Hall conductivity dominates. By performing numerical simulations and studying the dispersive properties of the wave modes, we investigate the dynamics and penetration of ELF/ULF waves through the ionospheric layers to the ground and along the geomagnetic field lines to the magnetosphere. Realistic profiles of the ionospheric profiles of conductivity and density are used, together with different configurations of the geomagnetic field, relevant for both the high, mid and equatorial latitudes. Some of the results are compared with recent HAARP experiments.