Articles | Volume 27, issue 6
29 Jun 2009
 | 29 Jun 2009

ELF and VLF signatures of sprites registered onboard the low altitude satellite DEMETER

J. Błęcki, M. Parrot, and R. Wronowski

Abstract. We report the observation of ELF and VLF signature of sprites recorded on the low altitude satellite DEMETER during thunderstorm activity. At an altitude of ~700 km, waves observed on the E-field spectrograms at mid-to-low latitudes during night time are mainly dominated by up-going 0+ whistlers. During the night of 20 July 2007 two sprites have been observed around 20:10:08 UT from the observatory located on the top of the mountain Śnieżka in Poland (50°44'09" N, 15°44'21" E, 1603 m) and, ELF and VLF data have been recorded by the satellite at about 1200 km from the region of thunderstorm activity. During this event, the DEMETER instruments were switched in the burst mode and it was possible to register the wave forms. It is shown that the two sprites have been triggered by two intense +CG lightning strokes (100 kA) occurring during the same millisecond but not at the same location. Despite the distance DEMETER has recorded at the same time intense and unusual ELF and VLF emissions. It is shown that the whistler wave propagates from the thunderstorm regions in the Earth-ionosphere guide and enters in the ionosphere below the satellite. They last several tens of milliseconds and the intensity of the ELF waveform is close to 1 mV/m. A particularly intense proton whistler is also associated with these emissions.