Ground-based detection of sprites and their parent lightning flashes over Africa during the 2006 AMMA campaign



Sprites have been detected in video camera observations from Niger over mesoscale convective systems in Nigeria during the 2006 AMMA (African Monsoon Multidisciplinary Analysis) campaign. The parent lightning flashes have been detected by multiple Extremely Low Frequency (ELF) receiving stations worldwide. The recorded charge moments of the parent lightning flashes are often in excellent agreement between different receiving sites, and are furthermore consistent with conventional dielectric breakdown in the mesosphere as the origin of the sprites. Analysis of the polarization of the horizontal magnetic field at the distant receivers provides evidence that the departure from linear magnetic polarization at ELF is caused primarily by the day–night asymmetry of the Earth–ionosphere cavity. Copyright © 2009 Royal Meteorological Society