Sprites, ELF Transients, and Positive Ground Strokes

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Science  25 Aug 1995:
Vol. 269, Issue 5227, pp. 1088-1091
DOI: 10.1126/science.269.5227.1088


In two summertime mesoscale convective systems (MCSs), mesospheric optical sprite phenomena were often coincident with both large-amplitude positive cloud-to-ground lightning and transient Schumann resonance excitations of the entire Earth-ionosphere cavity. These observations, together with earlier studies of MCS electrification, suggest that sprites are triggered when the rapid removal of large quantities of positive charge from an areally extensive charge layer stresses the mesosphere to dielectric breakdown.

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