Overview of the project

During the coming years an unprecedented suite of space missions dedicated to the study of thunderstorms, lightning, Transient Luminous Events (TLEs), and Terrestrial Gamma-ray Flashes (TGFs) are going to be launched. In the frame of this ISSI proposal we propose to gather scientists from the main European and Russian space projects: Chibis-M and Chibis-AI microsatellites from IKI, the French TARANIS spacecraft, and the Atmosphere-Space Interactions Monitor (ASIM) from ESA and to combine their expertise with scientists involved with ground based networks (HF/VHF measurements and gamma-ray monitors developed by ASEC laboratory).

The aims of this research group is to advance our fundamental knowledge of the high energy process in the terrestrial atmosphere that are of key importance to the generation of the Terrestrial Gamma-ray Flashes (TGFs) and Compact Intracloud Discharges (CIDs). This will be achieved by the analysis of data collected by Chibis-M, TARANIS, ASIM, and ancillary ground based facilities. This unique set of measurements is required to have a chance to resolve the mystery of explosive
processes in the terrestrial atmosphere.

Project goals

The Team will concentrate on the following unanswered questions:

  • ¬†experimental study of relativistic electron fluxes of gamma rays, correlated with thunderstorm clouds
  • the influence of the electric structure of thunderstorm clouds in the space-time structure and the range of fluxes of energetic particles;
  • association of the electrical activity in the thundercloud, including intracloud (including compact) discharges and cloud-to-ground discharges with high-energy processes (TGF), based on the analysis of satellite and ground-based data in a broad band of frequencies;
  • mechanisms for the generation of Terrestrial Gamma-ray Flashes and their relationship to Thunderstorm Ground Enhancements;
  • relation of super-short bursts of high-frequency (VHF) radiations with TGF and TGE.

Our goal is to go from observations to forward modelling, with the aim of eventually providing synthetic observations that can be directly compared with the original observations. We will make use of the diversity and complementarity of the expertise of the Team members to adopt the multi-faceted approach required to make significant progress in this field.