Thunderstorm and lightning characteristics associated with sprites in Brazil



[1] A study of the thunderstorm and cloud-ground lightning characteristics associated with sprite events observed in Brazil is presented. The study is based on ground and aircraft sprite observations with high sensitivity intensified CCD cameras of six different thunderstorms, GOES satellite infrared images, radar and lightning network data. A total of eighteen transient optical events were recorded at three different days in 2002 and 2003, sixteen of which exhibited vertical structures typically associated with sprites. Four thunderstorms were associated with two different cold fronts, one with a Mesoscale Convective System, and one was a local isolated thunderstorm. The sprites occurred during time periods when the percentage of positive flashes was higher than the average percentage for the storm lifetime. The lightning associated with the sprite events was all positive flashes with a mean peak current higher than the mean value for all flashes in the storms.