- Cummer, S.A. and Inan, U.S., Measurement of charge transfer in sprite-producing lightning using ELF radio atmospherics,
Geophysical Research Letters, vol. 24 no. 14
pp. 1731 - 1734 [97GL51791] .
(last updated on 2007/04/17)
Transient high altitude optical emissions referred to as 'sprites' are believed to occur as a result of the transfer of large amounts of charge (approx.100-300 C) from cloud altitudes of 5-10 km to the ground. Using a general subionospheric ELF propagation model, we quantitatively interpret magnetic field waveforms of ELF radio atmospherics originating in mid-western U.S. lightning discharges and observed at Stanford (approx.1800 km range) to determine the temporal variation of the lightning current and thereby measure the charge transfer during the stroke. For 6 sprite-producing lightning current waveforms observed on July 24, 1996, we find that 25 to 325 coulombs of charge was transferred during the first 5 ms of the discharges, assuming a 10 km altitude for the initial charge.
Electric variables measurement;Charge transfer;Lightning;Atmospherics;Mathematical models;Waveform analysis;Electromagnetic fields;Electric discharges;Electric currents;Computer software;Calculations;Light emission;