Lightning induced heating of the ionosphere

K. SHARMA D., M. ISRAIL, J. RAI, S. C. GARG

Abstract

The ion and electron temperature anomalies induced by the sprites associated with active thunderstorms in the ionosphere F2 region have been studied. For this study the data was obtained by the Retarded Potential Analyzer (RPA) payload experiment flown aboard the Indian SROSS-C2 satellite for the solar minimum year 1995-96. The data on thunderstorm activity has been obtained from the India Meteorological Department (IMD). The data analysis and comparison with the normal day’s temperature demonstrate the consistent enhancement during the sprites associated with active thunderstorms. The physical region for this temperature enhancement may be related to the generation of UHF to gamma ray frequencies due to lightning sprite activity, which propagate still upward at the satellite altitude (Taranenko and Roussel-Dupre, 1996; Lehtimen et al., 1996) and heat the local plasma in the ionosphere.

 

Keywords

Ionospheric temperature; thunderstorms; sprites

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