As a dispersive wave mode produced by lightning strokes, tweek atmospherics provide important hints of lower ionospheric (i.e., D-region) electron density. Based on data accumulation from the WHU ELF/VLF receiver system, we develop an automatic detection module in terms of the maximum-entropy-spectral-estimation (MESE) method to identify unambiguous instances of low latitude tweeks. We justify the feasibility of our procedure through a detailed analysis of the data observed at the Suizhou Station (31.57°N, 113.32°E) on 17 February 2016. A total of 3961 tweeks were registered by visual inspection; the automatic detection method captured 4342 tweeks, of which 3361 were correct ones, producing a correctness percentage of 77.4% (= 3361/4342) and a false alarm rate of 22.6% (= 981/4342). A Short-Time Fourier Transformation (STFT) was also applied to trace the power spectral profiles of identified tweeks and to evaluate the tweek propagation distance. It is found that the fitting accuracy of the frequency–time curve and the relative difference of propagation distance between the two methods through the slope and through the intercept can be used to further improve the accuracy of automatic tweek identification. We suggest that our automatic tweek detection and analysis method therefore supplies a valuable means to investigate features of low latitude tweek atmospherics and associated ionospheric parameters comprehensively.
As a companion paper to Zhou RX et al. (2020), this study describes application of the automatic detection and analysis module to identify all the tweek atmospherics detectible in the WHU ELF/VLF receiver data collected at Suizhou station during the period of 3 February through 29 February 2016. Detailed analysis of the identified low-latitude tweek events reveals that the occurrence rate varies considerably — from 800 to 6000 tweeks per day, and exhibits a strong diurnal and local time dependence, the peak occurring before local midnight. The diurnal variation of identified tweeks was similar to that of the lightning data obtained by the World-Wide Lightning Location Network (WWLLN).. Estimates of the propagation distance and ionospheric reflection height of tweek atmospherics suggest that the majority (~92%) of the low latitude tweeks originate from the lightning activity within a radius of 4000 km and that they are very likely to reflect from the lower ionospheric D-region at the height range of 75–85 km. At these lower ionospheric reflection altitudes, ~74% of the corresponding electron densities from the tweek spectral measurements are within 24.5–27.5 cm-3. The daily variation of estimated D-region electron densities in the considered period (February 2016) also exhibits a small overall increasing trend from early to later in the month.