Dataset for 16 parameters of ten thunderstorm ground enhancements (TGEs) allowing recovery of electron energy spectra and estimation the structure of the electric field above earth’s surface

Published: 20 December 2021| Version 3 | DOI: 10.17632/tvbn6wdf85.3
Ashot Chilingarian, Gagik Hovsepyan


The atmospheric electric field not only initiates lightning flashes but also originates huge fluxes of electrons and gamma rays incident on the earth’s surface. To reach a complete understanding of both phenomena and to find new and easily measured indicators of the global change in the climate system, the monitoring of the atmospheric electric fields is vitally demanded. Commercially available electric field meters are monitoring the near-surface (NS) atmospheric electric field worldwide in different weather conditions. Special sensors are designed for airborne measurements of the electric field profile with meteorological balloon systems. However, balloon measurements are rare and very slow (20-40 minutes to traverse a storm), performing measurements along the uncontrolled and random flight path, balloons are often taken away by the wind or occasionally destroyed by a lightning flash. However, till now balloon soundings provide the only available data to sample the depth of a storm. Based on these measurements overall understanding was reached that a strong electric field above 1.0 kV/cm started on heights above 1-2 km from the earth's surface. Large electric fields were measured well above 2 km over the ground. Although we cannot expect the same behavior at different destinate ions, the overall understanding in the atmospheric physics community is that strength of the electric field at altitudes below 1-2 km above ground is well below the critical energy necessary for a runaway process (accelerating and multiplying electrons from the ambient population of cosmic rays). The electron energy spectra measured at Aragats at an altitude of 3200, in this concern, are attributed to the Compton scattered electrons originated by a “gamma ray beam”, from the relativistic electron-gamma ray cascades unleashed high in the atmosphere. In the posted dataset we demonstrate that, at Aragats, a strong accelerating electric field can be continued almost to the earth’s surface. We present 10 TGE events observed in 2018-2021 allowing recovering electron energy spectra and estimating the heights of the termination of the strong electric field above the ground. The estimates vary from 10 to 150 m above ground, thus the electric field can reach ≈ 2.0 kV/cm at altitudes 3250 – 3350 m.



Yerevan Physics Institute after A Alikhanian


Atmospheric Physics