Long-lastingD-region ionospheric modifications, caused by intense lightning in association with elve and sprite pairs


Corresponding author: C. Haldoupis, Department of Physics, University of Crete, GR-71003 Heraklion, Greece. (


[1] Observations show that intense +CG lightning discharges which trigger both an elve and a sprite are associated with long-lasting conductivity modifications in the upperD-region ionosphere. They are observed as strong perturbations in VLF signals propagating through the disturbed region, manifested asLOng Recovery Early VLF events (LORE), which can last up to 30 minutes. These same ionospheric modifications are also responsible for step-like changes, seen mostly in off-storm VLF transmissions, which offset signal levels even for longer times. The evidence suggests that when a very intense positive cloud to ground lightning stroke leads to an elve and a high altitude sprite, and possibly a sprite halo as well, there is production of long lasting elevations in electron density at VLF reflection heights that cause LOREs and severe effects on VLF propagation. The present results confirm past predictions and postulations that elves may be accompanied by long-lasting electron density perturbations in the lower ionosphere.