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Geophysical Research Letters


This paper reports a modeling study of the modifications of the nighttime lower ionospheric conductivity by electrostatic fields produced by underlying thunderstorms. The model used combines Ohm's law with a simplified lower ionospheric ion chemistry model to self-consistently calculate the steady state nighttime conductivity above a thunderstorm. The results indicate that although the electron density is generally increased, the lower ionospheric conductivity can be reduced by up to 1-2 orders of magnitude because electron mobility is significantly reduced due to the electron heating effect. For a typical ionospheric density profile, the resulting changes in the reflection heights of extremely low frequency and very low frequency waves are 5 and 2 km, respectively.



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