Workshop on Coupling of Thunderstorms and Lightning Discharges to Near-Earth Space

23-27 June 2008, University of Corsica, Corte, France

Discovered in the early 1990s, sprites, jets and elves, also referred to as “Transient Luminous Events (TLEs)” are flashes of optical emissions in the stratosphere and mesosphere above severe thunderstorms. These “fireworks” include Earth’s largest electrical discharges reaching from the top of thunderclouds to the bottom ionosphere at 80 km altitude. Also during the 1990s, bursts of X- and gamma-rays were observed by spacecraft, from the atmosphere above thunderstorms. These so-called “Terrestrial Gamma-ray Flashes” (TGFs) are thought to be bremsstrahlung radiation from relativistic electrons accelerated in the electric fields above thunderstorms. TLEs and TGFs are newly discovered processes that couple the troposphere to the upper atmosphere and near-Earth space.
       The proposed workshop aims to better understand and identify the various physical processes that couple thunderstorms to the Earth’s upper atmosphere and ionosphere, and the effects of thunderstorm processes on the atmospheric composition and dynamics. The workshop will consist of invited tutorials and contributed talks, and an interactive poster session. There will also be organized splinter meetings targeted at the different communities (ASIM, TARANIS, E-CANES, etc.) and ample time for discussing current projects and future collaborations. The workshop will cover observations, simulations, theory and instrument technical aspects related to the following topics:
  • TLEs and TGFs
  • Response of the Atmosphere to TLEs
  • Electrification in Severe Storms
  • Troposphere-Stratosphere Transport by Tropical Convective Storms
  • Gravity Waves Generated by Thunderstorms
  • Lightning-Induced Electron Precipitation (LEP) Events
  • Lightning Effects on Mesospheric Airglow
  • The Global Atmospheric Electric Circuit
  • Current and Future dedicated Missions, associated measurements and modelling
  • Instrumental Techniques

Post Workshop Information:

More Information:


EuroSprite 2006

The workshop is partly sponsored by The European Space Agency, Human Spaceflight and Exploration Directorate, Topical Team on the Atmosphere-Space Interaction Monitor (ASIM), the French National Space Agency (CNES) in the context of the TARANIS (Tool for the Analysis of RAdiations from lightNIngs and Sprites) mission, the French National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS) European research network (GDRE) entitled "Electromagnetic Coupling of the Atmosphere with near-Earth Space (E-CANES)" and also by COST Action P18 "The Physics of Lightning Flash and Its Effects". The US National Science Foundation (NSF) Aeronomy program (Director Cassandra Fesen) and Physical and Dynamical Meteorology Program (Director Brad Smull) is also partly sponsoring the workshop.
The University of Corsica is sponsoring this event by hosting it, with the support of the Belgian Institute for Space Aeronomy and Penn State Lehigh Valley.

Contact: N. Crosby, Belgian Institute for Space Aeronomy [ norma.crosby AT ]
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Last Modified: 8 July 2009.