Diurnal variations of ELF transients and background noise in the Schumann resonance band



[1] Schumann resonances (SR) are resonant electromagnetic waves in the Earth-ionosphere cavity, induced primarily by lightning discharges, with a fundamental frequency of about 8 Hz and higher-order modes separated by approximately 6 Hz. The SR are made up of the background signal resulting from global lightning activity and extremely low frequency (ELF) transients resulting from particularly intense lightning discharges somewhere on the planet. Since transients within the Earth-ionosphere cavity due to lightning propagate globally in the ELF range, we can monitor and study global ELF transients from a single station. Data from our Negev Desert (Israel) ELF site are collected using two horizontal magnetic induction coils and a vertical electric field ball antenna, monitored in the 5–40 Hz range with a sampling frequency of 250 Hz. In this paper we present statistics related to the probability distribution of ELF transients and background noise in the time domain and its temporal variations during the day. Our results show that the ELF signal in the time domain follows the normal distribution very well. The σ parameter exhibits three peaks at 0800, 1400, and 2000 UT, which are related to the three main global lightning activity centers in Asia, Africa, and America, respectively. Furthermore, the occurrence of intense ELF events obeys the Poisson distribution, with such intense events occurring every ∼10 s, depending on the time of the day. We found that the diurnal changes of the σ parameter are several percent of the mean, while for the number of intense events per minute, the diurnal changes are tens of percent about the mean. We also present the diurnal changes of the SR intensities in the frequency domain as observed at our station. To better understand the diurnal variability of the observations, we simulated the measured ELF background noise using space observations as input, as detected by the Optical Transient Detector (OTD). The most active center which is reflected from both ELF measurements and OTD observations is in Africa. However, the second most active center on the basis of ELF measurements appears to be Asia, while OTD observations show that the American center is more active than the Asian center. These differences are discussed. This paper contributes to our understanding of the origin of the SR by comparing different lightning data sets: background electromagnetic radiation and optical emission observed from space.