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The Effect of Modal Interference on VLF Long-Range Lightning Location Networks Using the Waveform Correlation Technique

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  • 1 Met Office, Exeter, United Kingdom
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Abstract

The arrival time difference (ATD) long-range lightning location network (ATDnet) is the long-range very low frequency (VLF) lightning location network owned and operated by the Met Office, locating lightning using a waveform correlation technique. Pronounced differences in the waveform shape with distance to lightning have been observed and attributed to interference between different propagation modes within the earth–ionosphere waveguide. During the day, waveform correlations were significantly degraded at a distance of 450 km from the sensor, with the main degradations occurring during the night centered at propagation distances of 650 and 2150 km. The observation and simple modeling of modal interference spacing allowed the effective ionospheric height during summer over Europe to be estimated for day and night as 69 and 88.5 km, respectively, for 13.7 kHz. Wider distribution of sensor sites, lowering of the receiver frequency, and adaptation of the reference waveform selection criteria have been suggested to mitigate the effect of this interference on network performance.

Corresponding author address: Alec Bennett, Met Office, FitzRoy Rd, Exeter, EX1 3PB, United Kingdom. E-mail: alec.bennett@metoffice.gov.uk

Abstract

The arrival time difference (ATD) long-range lightning location network (ATDnet) is the long-range very low frequency (VLF) lightning location network owned and operated by the Met Office, locating lightning using a waveform correlation technique. Pronounced differences in the waveform shape with distance to lightning have been observed and attributed to interference between different propagation modes within the earth–ionosphere waveguide. During the day, waveform correlations were significantly degraded at a distance of 450 km from the sensor, with the main degradations occurring during the night centered at propagation distances of 650 and 2150 km. The observation and simple modeling of modal interference spacing allowed the effective ionospheric height during summer over Europe to be estimated for day and night as 69 and 88.5 km, respectively, for 13.7 kHz. Wider distribution of sensor sites, lowering of the receiver frequency, and adaptation of the reference waveform selection criteria have been suggested to mitigate the effect of this interference on network performance.

Corresponding author address: Alec Bennett, Met Office, FitzRoy Rd, Exeter, EX1 3PB, United Kingdom. E-mail: alec.bennett@metoffice.gov.uk
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