During the Northern Hemisphere summer of 2003 a sprite observation campaign was conducted from Southern Europe and the magnetically conjugate region in South Africa. The campaign brought together a wide variety of instrumentation to investigate the effects of sprites on the mesosphere, and to search for signatures of the relativistic electron acceleration process in the magnetically conjugate hemisphere. Measurements in Europe included optical video imaging from a remote-controlled, semi-automatic camera system located at the Observatoire du Pic du Midi in the Pyrenees mountains in Southern France, infrasound observations from France, and ULF-HF electromagnetic observations from a number of locations. The measurements in South Africa included observations of optical emissions and VLF electromagnetic waves. The campaign was successful, with more than 100 sprites observed during 10 storms.
The paper will give an overview of the campaign and some results. They include: (1) the first clear identification of infrasound from sprites, allowing independent (of optical observations) estimates of the energy input to the mesosphere,
(2) the first detection of sprites triggered by intra-cloud lightning, a result that underscores the need for considering the complete thunderstorm source field resulting from both cloud-to-ground discharges and the intra-cloud discharges
feeding them, and (3) a clear one-to-one relationship with sprites and early VLF events, suggesting that VLF ground transmitter signals can be an important tool for estimating ionisation and relaxation of ionised structures in sprites. No
signatures of relativistic electrons were identified during the campaign.
|Conference||General Meeting of the European-Geosciences-Union|
|Period||25/04/2004 → 30/04/2004|