Latitudinal and seasonal variations of quasiperiodic and periodic VLF emissions in the outer magnetosphere

M. J. Engebretson, J. L. Posch, A. J. Halford, Geoffrey A Rojas, A. J. Smith, M. Spasojević, U. S. Inan, R. L. Arnoldy

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36 Scopus citations


We have analyzed ELF-VLF receiver and search coil magnetometer data from five Antarctic stations from 1998 and 1999 to study quasiperiodic emissions (QPs) and periodic emissions (PEs), which occur as ULF-range modulations of ELF-VLF signals between 0.5 kHz and ∼4 kHz. QPs are modulated at frequencies of ∼20-50 mHz, and PEs are modulated at frequencies of ∼200-500 mHz. The stations used covered a range of magnetic latitudes from -62° (Halley) to -74° (South Pole Station); three automated geophysical observatories (AGOs) were located at intermediate latitudes. Consistent with earlier studies, most QPs were observed with magnetic pulsations of identical period in the Pc3 range (type I QPs). Of those QPs not observed with simultaneous magnetic pulsations (type II QPs), nearly all were accompanied by PEs. Type I QPs, PEs, and events during which both appeared together (QPPEs) were found to have different latitudinal, seasonal, and diurnal occurrence patterns: QPs of both types were more likely to occur between -65° and -70° magnetic latitude, while PEs occurred more often around -60° magnetic latitude. QPs were more common during the months of October though March, while PEs were more common during the months of May through September. QPs, whether with or without simultaneous PEs or magnetic pulsations, were predominantly a dayside phenomenon, with a broad maximum near local noon. The occurrence of QPs unaccompanied by PEs was restricted to the dayside, however, while a small number of QPPEs appeared even during nighttime hours. PEs, on the other hand, could be seen at all local times, but with latitudinally dependent diurnal patterns. Most higher-latitude QPs were type I events (observed with magnetic pulsations), while type II QP events (without simultaneous magnetic pulsations) occurred relatively more often at lower latitudes. A case study from 1 August 1999 using wideband data from South Pole and Halley provides evidence of a transition from echoing whistler activity to PE activity and then to QP activity and suggests a causal relationship.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberA05216
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics
Issue numberA5
StatePublished - May 2004


  • Pc3 pulsations
  • Pc3-4 pulsations
  • Periodic emissions
  • Quasiperiodic emissions
  • ULF pulsations
  • VLF waves


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