The likelihood of winter sprites over the Gulf Stream

Colin Price*, William Burrows, Patrick King

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


With the recent introduction of the Canadian Lightning Detection Network (CLDN), it was revealed that during the winter months every year, the highest lightning activity within the network occurs over the Gulf Stream, southeast of Nova Scotia. These storms over the Gulf Stream, in addition to being of importance to trans-Atlantic shipping and aviation, have an unusually high fraction of positive polarity lightning, with unusually large peak currents. Such intense positive lightning flashes are known to generate transient luminous events (TLEs) such as sprites and elves in the upper atmosphere. It is found that many of these large positive discharges produce extremely low frequency (ELF) electromagnetic radiation detected at a field station in the Negev Desert, Israel, 8000 km away, in agreement with previously documented sprite observations. Since these winter storms occur in the same location every year, it provides a good opportunity for field experiments focused on studying winter sprites and oceanic thunderstorms.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)27-1-27-4
JournalGeophysical Research Letters
Issue number22
StatePublished - 15 Nov 2002


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