Associations between Fermi Gamma-ray Burst Monitor terrestrial gamma ray flashes and sferics from the World Wide Lightning Location Network

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Abstract

[1] We report on a search for correlations between terrestrial gamma ray flashes (TGFs) detected by the Fermi Gamma-ray Burst Monitor (GBM) and lightning strokes measured using the World Wide Lightning Location Network (WWLLN). We associate 15 of a total 50 GBM-detected TGFs with individual discharges. We establish the relative timing between the TGF and the lightning stroke to an accuracy of <50 μs, and find that in 13 of these 15 lightning-TGF associations, the lightning stroke and the peak of the TGF are simultaneous to ∼40 μs. This suggests that a large fraction of TGFs are coincident with lightning discharges. The two nonsimultaneous associations do not show a consistent TGF-lightning stroke temporal sequence. All 15 associations are with sferics within 300 km of the subspacecraft position. For those TGFs not correlated with a particular lightning stroke, we find storm activity within 300 km of the subspacecraft position in all but four of the TGFs. For three of these four TGFs, we find storm activity very close to one of the magnetic footprints of the spacecraft position. We associate the subspacecraft TGFs with gamma ray events and the footprint events with electrons traveling along magnetic field lines before hitting the Fermi spacecraft.

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