Detection of ionospheric perturbations associated with Japanese earthquakes on the basis of reception of LF transmitter signals on the satellite DEMETER
- 1Department of Electronic Engineering and Research Station on Seismo Electromagnetics, University of Electro-Communications, Chofu Tokyo, Japan
- 2LPCE/CNRS, Orleans, France
- 3Institute of Physics of the Earth, Moscow, Russia
Abstract. There have been recently reported a lot of electromagnetic phenomena associated with earthquakes (EQs). Among these, the ground-based reception of subionospheric waves from VLF/LF transmitters, is recognized as a promising tool to investigate the ionospheric perturbations associated with EQs. This paper deals with the corresponding whistler-mode signals in the upper ionosphere from those VLF/LF transmitters, which is the counterpart of subionospheric signals. The whistler-mode VLF/LF transmitter signals are detected on board the French satellite, DEMETER launched on 29 June 2004. We have chosen several large Japanese EQs including the Miyagi-oki EQ (16 August 2005; M=7.2, depth=36 km), and the target transmitter is a Japanese LF transmitter (JJY) whose transmitter frequency is 40 kHz. Due to large longitudinal separation of each satellite orbit (2500 km), we have to adopt a statistical analysis over a rather long period (such as 3 weeks or one month) to have reliable data set. By analyzing the spatial distribution of JJY signal intensity (in the form of signal to noise ratio SNR) during a period of 4 months including the Miyagi-oki EQ, we have found significant changes in the intensity; generally the SNR is significantly depleted before the EQ, which is considered to be a precursory ionospheric signature of the EQ. This abnormal effect is reasonably explained in terms of either (1) enhanced absorption of whistler-mode LF signals in the lower ionosphere due to the lowering of the lower ionosphere, or (2) nonlinear wave-wave scattering. Finally, this analysis suggests an important role of satellite observation in the study of lithosphere-atmosphere-ionosphere coupling.