On D-region Electron Heating by a Low-Frequency Terrestrial Line Current With Ground Return


  • R. V. Row,

  • M. H. Mentzoni


A horizontal current-carrying wire near the surface of the earth will maintain a tangential electric field in the ionosphere overhead. The questions of how large this field must be to produce a given local increase in electron temperature in the D region and the corresponding required current (dipole moment) in the wire are addressed here. To achieve a 20 K modulation (about 10% of ambient temperature) of the local electron temperature at an altitude of 70 km under daytime conditions would require an rms current of 2730 amp at 45 Hz over a length of at least 300 km where the ground conductivity is 1.4×10−4 mho m−1. A parallel array of 23 wires spaced at 10-km intervals will produce the same temperature modulation with only 139 amp in each wire.