Diurnal, seasonal and inter-annual variations in the Schumann resonance parameters

Colin Price*, Alexander Melnikov

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The Schumann resonances (SR) represent an electromagnetic phenomenon in the Earth's atmosphere related to global lightning activity. The spectral characteristics of the SR modes are defined by their resonant mode amplitude, center frequency and half-width (Q-factor). Long-term (4 years) diurnal and seasonal variations of these parameters are presented based on measurements at a field site in the Negev desert, Israel. Variations of the different modes (8, 14 and 20 Hz) and the different electromagnetic components (Hns, Hew and Ez) are presented. The power variations of the various modes and components show three dominant maxima in the diurnal cycle related to lightning activity in south-east Asia (0800 UT), Africa (1400 UT) and South America (2000 UT). The largest global lightning activity occurs during the northern hemisphere summer (JJA) with the southern hemisphere summer (DJF) having the least lightning around the globe. The frequency and half-width (Q-factor) variations of the different modes and SR components are fairly complicated in structure, and will need additional theoretical work to explain their variations. However, the frequency variations are in excellent agreement with previous studies, implying that the frequency variations are robust features of the SR. The inter-annual variability of global lightning activity is shown to vary differently for each of the three major source regions of global lightning.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1179-1185
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Atmospheric and Solar-Terrestrial Physics
Issue number13-14 SPEC. ISS.
StatePublished - Sep 2004


FundersFunder number
Israel Science Foundation183/00


    • ELF radiation
    • Lightning
    • Schumann resonance
    • Thunderstorms


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