Gamma ray storms: preliminary meteorological analysis of AGILE TGFs

Meteorology of AGILE TGF observations

Abstract

Despite the recognition from their discovery that terrestrial gamma ray flashes (TGFs) originate from thunderstorms, little is known about the TGF-producing storms. The characteristics of such thunderstorms are investigated here using meteorological data, with the aim to set up a framework of analysis to be propagated to more complete TGF archives. In this work, we present the preliminary results. As first analysis, we considered 72 events detected by the Astrorivelatore Gamma ad Immagini Leggero (AGILE) from March 2015 to June 2015, estimating their electric activity in terms of flash production. To this end, we examined World Wide Lightning Location Network lightning data in the spatial and temporal proximity of each AGILE TGFs, searching for relationship between flash rate peak and distribution and the TGF occurrence. Moreover, we analyzed the low-Earth orbiting (LEO) satellite observation of the TGF-producing storms to define, through the capabilities of microwave sensors (both active and passive), the structure of the convective storms correlated with TGF events. In particular, we focused on the Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM) observations and show here a case study observed by the dual-frequency precipitation radar (DPR). Preliminary results indicate that the TGF often occur during the most active lightning phase of the storm, while the intensity of the storm is not a key ingredient for the production of a TGF. The multisensory capability of LEO satellites provide a picture of the storm structure, that, despite the poor coverage, is an unprecedented tool to study such cloud system over remote areas and open ocean. This study framework is meant to be applied to other TGF database, such as the ones collected by other space missions (e.g., FERMI, RHESSI).

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.

Fig. 1
Fig. 2
Fig. 3

References

  1. Cummer SA et al (2005) Measurements and implications of the relationship between lightning and terrestrial gamma ray flashes. Geophys Res Lett 32:L08811. https://doi.org/10.1029/2005gl022778

    Article  Google Scholar 

  2. Dwyer JW et al (2005) A comparison between Monte Carlo simulations of runaway break-down and terrestrial gamma-ray flash observations. Geophys Res Lett 32:L22804. https://doi.org/10.1029/2005gl023848

    Article  Google Scholar 

  3. Fishman GJ et al (1994) Discovery of intense gamma-ray flashes of atmospheric origin. Science 264:1313

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  4. Huang Z et al (2005) The seasonal characteristics of TGF occurrences and their fingerprints in massive thunderstorms. Eos Trans AGU 86(52):AE33A0949 (Fall Meet Suppl Abstract)

    Google Scholar 

  5. Inan US et al (2007) Terrestrial gamma ray flashes and lightning discharges. Geophys Res Lett 33:L18802. https://doi.org/10.1029/2006gl027085

    Article  Google Scholar 

  6. Labanti C et al (2009) Design and construction of the Mini-Calorimeter of the AGILE satellite. Nucl Instr Meth. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.nima.2008.09.021

    Article  Google Scholar 

  7. Lay EH et al (2004) WWLLN global lightning detection system: regional validation study in Brazil. Geophys Res Lett 31:L03102. https://doi.org/10.1029/2003gl018882

    Article  Google Scholar 

  8. Le M et al (2013a) Precipitation type classification method for dual-frequency precipitation radar (DPR) onboard the GPM. Trans Geosci Remote Sens. https://doi.org/10.1109/tgrs.2012.2205698

    Article  Google Scholar 

  9. Le M et al (2013b) Hydrometeor profile characterization method for dual-frequency precipitation radar onboard the GPM. Trans Geosci Remote Sens 51:3648–3658

    Article  Google Scholar 

  10. Marisaldi M et al (2010) Detection of terrestrial gamma ray flashes up to 40 MeV by the AGILE satellite. J Geophys Res. https://doi.org/10.1029/2009ja014502

    Article  Google Scholar 

  11. Marisaldi M et al (2014) Properties of terrestrial gamma ray flashes detected by AGILE MCAL below 30 MeV. J Geophys Res Sp Phys. https://doi.org/10.1002/2013ja019301

    Article  Google Scholar 

  12. Marisaldi M et al (2015) Enhanced detection of terrestrial gamma ray flashes by AGILE. Geophys Res Lett. https://doi.org/10.1002/2015gl066100

    Article  Google Scholar 

  13. Østgaard N et al (2008) Production altitude and time delays of the terrestrial gamma flashes: revisiting the burst and transient source experiment spectra. J Geophys Res 113:A02307. https://doi.org/10.1029/2007ja012618

    Article  Google Scholar 

  14. Rodger CJ et al (2009) Growing detection efficiency of the World Wide Lightning Location Network. AIP Conf Proc 1118:1520. https://doi.org/10.1063/1.3137706

    Article  Google Scholar 

  15. Smith DM et al (2005) Terrestrial gamma-ray flashes observed up to 20 MeV. Science 307:10851088. https://doi.org/10.1126/science.1107466

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  16. Splitt ME et al (2010) Thunderstorm characteristics associated with RHESSI identified terrestrial gamma ray flashes. J Geophys Res 115:A00E38. https://doi.org/10.1029/2009ja014622

    Article  Google Scholar 

  17. Stanley MA et al (2006) A link between terrestrial gamma ray flashes and intracloud lightning discharges. Geophys Res Lett 33(6):L06803. https://doi.org/10.1029/2005GL025537

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  18. Tavani M et al (2009) The AGILE mission. Astron Astrophys 502:9951013. https://doi.org/10.1051/0004-6361/200810527

    Article  Google Scholar 

  19. Williams E et al (2006) Lightning flashes conducive to the production and escape of gamma radiation to space. J Geophys Res 111:D16209. https://doi.org/10.1029/2005jd006447

    Article  Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Alessandra Tiberia.

Additional information

Publisher's Note

Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Tiberia, A., Dietrich, S., Porcù, F. et al. Gamma ray storms: preliminary meteorological analysis of AGILE TGFs. Rend. Fis. Acc. Lincei 30, 259–263 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12210-019-00775-y

Download citation

Keywords

  • Lightning
  • Thunderstorms
  • TGF
  • AGILE
  • WWLLN