Interrelation between ELF transients and ionospheric disturbances in association with sprites and elves



Red sprites and elves were observed in Japan during the winter of 1998/99 in Hokuriku region by the group of Tohoku Univ. [Fukunishi et al., EOS, 80(46), F217, 1999]. We analyze quantitatively the results from coordinated measurement consisting of ELF transients, VLF subionopheric disturbances and lightning discharges associated with the optical events. We find the clear straightforward relationship between charge transfer of the parent discharge calculated from ELF (f < 15 Hz) and the ionospheric disturbances regardless of the types of optical events indicating significant atmosphere-mesosphere-ionosphere coupling. Sprites tend to associate with a large ionospheric disturbance (−13 ∼ + 4.6 dB) with a large charge transfer (52 ∼ 175 C), whereas a large lightning peak current (+223 ∼ + 470 kA) (or slow-tail amplitude) leading to the strong EMP is necessary to initiate elves, but with rather small ionospheric disturbances.