Sprites identification and their spatial distributions in JEM-GLIMS nadir observations

  • Author(s): Mitsuteru Sato, Toru Adachi, Tomoo Ushio, Takeshi Morimoto, Masayuki Kikuchi, Hiroshi Kikuchi, Makoto Suzuki, Atsushi Yamazaki, Yukihiro Takahashi, Ryohei Ishida, Yuji Sakamoto, Kazuya Yoshida, and Yasuhide Hobara
  • DOI: 10.3319/TAO.2016.09.21.02
  • Keywords: Sprite Lightning Nadir observations JEM GLIMS ISS
  • Citation: Sato, M., T. Adachi, T. Ushio, T. Morimoto, M. Kikuchi, H. Kikuchi, M. Suzuki, A. Yamazaki, Y. Takahashi, R. Ishida, Y. Sakamoto, K. Yoshida, and Y. Hobara, 2017: Sprites identification and their spatial distributions in JEM-GLIMS nadir observations. Terr. Atmos. Ocean. Sci., 28, 545-561, doi: 10.3319/TAO.2016.09.21.02
  • JEM-GLIMS successfully conducted the 3-year nadir observations from the ISS
  • Methods to distinguish sprites from the parent lightning are introduced
  • Quantitative spatial distributions of sprites are revealed for the first time

The Global Lightning and Sprite Measurements on the Japanese Experiment Module (JEM-GLIMS) started continuous nadir observations of lightning and transient luminous events (TLEs) at the International Space Station (ISS) in November 2012 and completed the observations in August 2015. As JEM-GLIMS uses the nadir observation technique, the JEM-GLIMS optical instruments simultaneously measure both incomparably intense lightning emissions and weak sprite emissions. We adopted combined data analytical methods to distinguish between these two types of emissions: (1) a subtraction of the wideband LSI-1 image from the narrowband LSI-2 image, (2) a calculation of the intensity ratio between different photometer channels, and (3) an estimation of the charge moment change (CMC) of the suspected sprite-producing CG discharge. This report presents as a case study one sprite event detected at 19:50:40.30580 UT on 28 September 2013 and identified using the above analytical methods. From the results derived from detailed data analyses, we judged that the optical emission measured by LSI-2 is a sprite emission. We carried out the geometry conversion toward the LSI-1 and subtracted images and found that the sprite emission location shifts by 3.5 km from the peak lightning emission location, which agree with the previous reports. The detailed horizontal distributions of sprites and the relationship between the sprite location and the parent lightning location are quantitatively revealed for the first time.

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