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Observations of transient luminous events (TLEs) associated with negative cloud to ground (−CG) lightning strokes

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Abstract

[1] A balloon campaign was conducted in summer, 1999, to measure the stratospheric electromagnetic fields associated with sprites. Ground observations for detection of sprites included low light level TV (LLTV) observations from three sites. Flight 1 flew from Palestine, Texas at 01:14:31 UTC to 09:45:00 UTC on 07/06/1999. Flight 3 of the campaign flew from Ottumwa, Iowa at 00:39:32 UTC to 11:12:00 UTC on 08/21/99. During flight 3, 26 sprite halos associated with positive cloud-to-ground (+CG) strokes and 17 −CG sprite halos were observed. Of these, 22 +CG and 12 −CG sprite halos were observed by the ground observatories. Seven of the +CG and all 17 −CG halos were not followed by sprites. Next the balloon data were examined during and after the times of the recorded NLDN strokes during 4.1 hours of data. An additional 88 −CG TLEs were found in the flight 3 data and 56 TLEs (7 +CG, 49 −CG) were found in the flight 1 data. It appears that −CG TLEs, mostly spriteless halos, occurred 5–7 times more often than the +CG TLEs. The halo appears to be a fundamental mesospheric response to lightning.

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