Space Science Reviews

, Volume 35, Issue 2, pp 175–183 | Cite as

Satellite observations of power line harmonic radiation

  • K. Bullough


In-situ spectral observations of power-line harmonic radiation (PLHR) are still quite rare and almost all the detailed characteristics have been derived from studies at Antarctic stations such as Siple and Halley, and their conjugates in North America. Because of the lack of more direct satellite evidence of PLHR and the difficulties in interpretation of morphological studies, such as those of Ariel 3 and 4, there is considerable controversy concerning the relative importance of PLHR and its contribution to wave-particle interactions (WPI) in the magnetosphere.

The early Ariel 3 and 4 global surveys indicated that, in terms of true mean wave energy, there is no longitudinal localisation, the contribution of world-wide intense VLF emissions, associated with magnetic storms, being dominant. Also, the most intense wave emission, that of plasmaspheric hiss at ELF (< 1 kHz) exhibits little evidence of localisation.

The PLHR phenomenon is most conspicuous by its persistence in quiet times (Kp ≤ 2+) at 45° < Λ < 55° over North America and its conjugate region, even though the less frequent strongest emissions, to which it gives rise in the summer, are located polewards at 3 < L < 5. In the northern winter, when spheric activity over both North America and its conjugate are low, there is a high occurrence of strong discrete emissions, which are more sharply localised than in the summer, on the NE industrial U.S.A. field line.

The most recent Ariel 4 studies, particularly on the spheric wavefield over North America (using data from the Appleton Laboratory impulse counters) and on the character of the wavefield over the mainland and over the Atlantic immediately to the east (where the spheric contribution is similar) throw new light on the problem. It appears that the principal role of the PLHR may be to sustain duct structure and multihop propagation which is relatively much rarer over the Atlantic. Typical industrial PLHR consists of a series of narrow pulses at twice the mains frequency. It is suggested that these ‘artificial spherics’ may help to sustain the WPI and multihop duct structure. At L = 4, Yoshida et al. (1980) have shown that there is a strong, sharp maximum for WPIs originating in spherics, at f ≅ 3 kHz, in good agreement with Siple observations.


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Copyright information

© D. Reidel Publishing Co 1983

Authors and Affiliations

  • K. Bullough
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PhysicsUniversity of SheffieldUK

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