Correlation of Solar X-ray Flux and SID Modified VLF Signal Strength
AIR FORCE INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY WRIGHT-PATTERSON AFB OH GRADUATE SCHOOL OF ENGINEERING AND MANAGEMENT
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This paper presents a quantitative comparison of the X-ray flux during solar flares, as measured by the GOES-15 satellite, and the associated effects on the ionization levels in the lower ionosphere as measured by Sudden Ionospheric Disturbance SID monitors around the globe. These monitors detect signals from a variety of different transmitting stations, each sending a unique Very Low Frequency VLF or Low Frequency LF radio wave signal ranging from 16.4 to 77.5 kHz. Global signal propagation distances are achieved via the Earth-ionosphere waveguide propagation mode. During a solar flare, the increased X-ray flux enhances the ionization response in the sunlit ionosphere. The resulting SID in the lower ionosphere alters LF and VLF signal propagation. The monitored signal strength increases as a result of increased conductivity of the layer and a decrease in height of the ionosphere boundary. X-ray flux and SID modified signal strength were analyzed from March 2010 to June 2014. Ionospheric incubation times, and duration and strength of signal enhancement are related to flare strength via the X-ray flux enhancement.
- Atmospheric Physics