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Atmosphere-Space Interactions Monitor(ASIM). Operation and Scientific Operation and Scientific return. Spanish participation in XIPE phase A. Contribution of the UPC to scientific exploitation

Total activity: 31
Type of activity
Competitive project
Funding entity
Funding entity code
217.800,00 €
Start date
End date
Chorros, Descargas, Duendes, Elfos, Elves, Escape Electrones, ISS, Jets, Lightning, Runaway, Sparks, Sprites, TGF, TLE, X-Rays, rayos, rayos-X
The UPC Lightning Research Group is conducting research on atmospheric electricity since 2001. In 2005, the group joined the EU
Coupling of Atmospheric Layers project. That project investigated the electrical transient luminous events (TLE): sprites, elves, blue jets
and gigantic jets (GJ). Since 2008 the group has been working in four projects related to the ASIM, an ESA mission. The group obtained
the first intensified high-speed video of TLE and lightning discovering complex interactions. The group has established the European
reference Ebro Valley Laboratory (EVL) for lightning research. At the EVL the first Lightning Mapping Array (LMA) was deployed in Europe
allowing 3D mapping of lightning leaders. The EVL has other total lightning systems: a VLF 3D network and interferometers (3D and 2D).
Instruments for detection of high energy emissions and electromagnetic fields up to 20 GHz have been developed by the group. The EVL
has the Eagle Nest instrumented tower (at 2537 m MSL) where lightning currents are measured and other instruments are hosted.
Overseas, the group has observation centers for TLE at the Caribbean (Colombia and Curaçao). Moreover a small LMA network was
established as the Colombia ASIM Site. Most TGF and GJ are detected over tropical storms. An ELF sensor has been installed in Cape
Verde to measure global Schumann resonances and Q-bursts form energetic TLE parent lighting.
This project is organized into three main objectives related with TGF, TLE and lightning. These objectives are based on data from ASIM.
The general question we wish to clarify is the relation between high energy processes (TLE, TGF, x-ray and radio emissions), lightning
leader properties (e.g. speed, potential, altitude, type of process), the storm's charge structure and its environment. The meteorological
conditions of thunderstorms and lightning associated with TGF is our 1st objective for TGF. Not all thunderstorms and lightning produce
TGF. ASIM will unambiguously locate (< 10 km) the storms where TGF originated. In the second objective related to TGF, thanks to our
LMA in Colombia, the electrical structure of tropical thunderstorms and their lighting development will be determined for the first time. This
is also relevant for mechanisms for gigantic jets under TLE objectives. That will be the input for a lighting leader model that will provide the
initial conditions for the Leptrack TGF model. In addition, we will focus on simultaneous measurements with our LMA (EVL and Colombia
ASIM Site) together with TGF detected by ASIM. Our TLE objective includes the study of TLE observed by MMIA aboard ASIM and
associated lightning/meteorology while we continue high-speed video observations from the Caribbean in order to record a GJ for the first
time. Upward leaders from cloud tops will be another target for high-speed observations. In the objectives related to lightning we will
continue with the operation of the facilities at the EVL. We plan to update our high speed video system for a better time resolution. We
include the design of a new high resolution 3D interferometer The scientific objective will be focused on of high energy radiation by natural
lightning and laboratory sparks together with electromagnetic emissions up to 20 GHz. High energy emission processes in lightning to
ground may be similar and/or common to the origin of the TGF upward to space. We will participate in international campaigns in
Switzerland and in France with aircraft.
Adm. Estat
Plan Estatal de Investigación Científica y Técnica y de Innovación 2013-2016
Call year
Funcding program
Programa Estatal de I+D+i Orientada a los Retos de la Sociedad
Funding call
Retos de Investigación: Proyectos de I+D+i
Grant institution
Gobierno De España. Ministerio De Economía Y Competitividad, Mineco


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