Characteristics of vlf tweeks
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Characteristics of VLF Tweeks . In this spectrogram recorded by our receiver during August 2007 we can recognize the tweeks characteristics which present tails with the sferics. Magnetic Field variation. Nedra Tounsi & Hassen Ghalila

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Characteristics of vlf tweeks

Characteristics of VLF Tweeks

  • In this spectrogram recorded by our receiver during August 2007 we can recognize the tweeks characteristics which present tails with the sferics.

  • Magnetic Field variation

Nedra Tounsi & Hassen Ghalila

Laboratoire de Spectroscopie Atomique Moléculaire et Applications


  • Lightning and ionospheric remote sensing using VLF/ELF radio atmospherics

  • S.A. Cummer Thesis 1997

  • Propagational Features of Higher harmonic Tweeks at low latitudes

  • R.P. Singh 1996

  • Tracing Particles from the Sun to the Earth’s Ionosphere

  • S. Murray 2007

  • Equivalent electron densities at reflection heights of tweek atmospherics in the low middle latitude D-region ionosphere

  • H. Ohya 2003

  • Observations of tweeks in the south Pacific region (2003) and lightning stroke distance estimation from single station observation and validation with WWLLN data.

  • V. Ramachandran 2007

Earth ionosphere waveguide


Earth-Ionosphere Waveguide


Ligthning - Sprites : Electrical source of electromagnetic waves

The waveguide acts as a filter -> remains only the waveguide modes

Detection of tweeks



Detection of tweeks

Cutoff frequency

Velocity dispersion

The two first tails are clear enough to extract the cutoff frequencies and the dispersion of the light velocity

Cutoff frequency
Cutoff frequency

  • The tweeks signals have caracteristic Cutoff frequencies due to long distance propagation by the Earth-ionosphere wave guide mode.

f2 =2f1 ; f3=3f1 ; f4=4f1

  • We measure the cutoff frequencies by the help of the improfile tool of matlab which gives us a one dimensional plot of the spectrogram.

Characteristics of vlf tweeks

Ionospheric height , Group velocity

  • On the basis of values of cutoff frequency we can compute the Height and Group velocity values.

  • We estimate the heigh of ionosphere and the groupe velocity through these expressions.



Group velocity =>

Vg =c[1-(fc /f)2]1 /2

  • The nighttimeionosphericreflectionheightestimatedfromtweeks varies in the range of 88-92km

  • The groupe velocityisnearlyequalto celerity of light.

Electronic density mobility conductivity
Electronic density, mobility conductivity

σe=qe Ne µe

µe =1.36N0/ Nn

Ne (h)=1.241.10-8 FC Fh

(Ohya 2003)

  • Using the International GeomagneticReferencefield model and takingtunis’s latitude (10°1024 E)

  • Using the Handbookatmospheric in summeratmiddel latitude.

  • AtmosphericdensitydecreaseexponentiallywithHeigh.

Fh =B e/2πm (Cyclotron frequencies)

Fh =1.2294 MHz

Estimated lightning distance
Estimated lightning distance

∆t = t1 - t2

Time interval between two close frequencies gives the source distance of atmospherics which is written as expression (1).

∆t = d/vg1 - d/vg2


For perfectly conducting boundary layers of Earth- ionosphere waveguide,the equation reduice to expression (2).


Characteristics of vlf tweeks

  • The delay time is measured from spectrogram of tweeks.

  • The tweeks shown have propagated a distance of arund 1300 Km

  • The average percentage deviation in estimating the distance is 30 % The tail of the Tweeks which are not sufficently long to have a precise value of the cutoff frequency.

Validation with cal data



Lat : 44.363000

Validation with CAL data

Coupling of AtmosphericLayers:projectconcernsthanderstorms,electrical And space radiation effects in the stratosphere, mesosphere and lowerthermosphere.

Storms in centrale Europe

∆t = t record - t CAL

∆t = 3,05 ms

D=C. ∆t

00 :05 :21.131

D = 916 km

The storms which took place in

Bosnia seem to be responsible for these tweeks

  • The Sferic corresponding to the lightning should appear after the stroke time due to the travel time delay.

(Long,Lat) D = 1084 km from Tunis


Characteristics of vlf tweeks






Identification of the lightning

=arctan (BEW/BNS )

Twochannel orthogonal Magneticloopantenna configuration.


Comparison over station
Comparison over station

  • The dispersion of tweek atmospherics is dependent on the conductivity of the ground and seawater.

  • The lower attenuation offered by the waveguide between the sea and the ionosphere than that between the earth and the ionosphere.

  • Tweeks have been observed only during the nighttime in tunisia and algeria in the night of 21 August.

  • No indication for tweeks occurrence in Sebha south libya in the night of 21 August.