EGU22-5994, updated on 28 Mar 2022
EGU General Assembly 2022
© Author(s) 2022. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Height Determination of a Blue Discharge Observed by ASIM/MMIA on the International Space Station

Xue Bai1, Martin Fullekrug1, Olivier Chanrion2, Serge Soula3, Adam Peverell1, Dakalo Mashao4,5, Michael Kosch4,6,7, and Torsten Neubert2
Xue Bai et al.
  • 1University of Bath, Centre for Space, Atmospheric and Oceanic Science, Department of Electronic and Electrical Engineering, Bath, UK
  • 2Technical University of Denmark, Copenhagen, DK
  • 3Laboratoire d’Aérologie, Université de Toulouse, UT3, CNRS, IRD, Toulouse, France
  • 4South African National Space Agency, Hermanus, SA
  • 5Department of Physics, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, SA
  • 6Physics Department, Lancaster University, UK
  • 7University of the Western Cape, Bellville, SA

Recently, Transient Luminous Events (TLEs) in the mesosphere and lightning activity near thunderstorm tops have attracted great interest. The Atmosphere-Space Interactions Monitor (ASIM) and the Modular Multispectral Imaging Array (MMIA) are on board the International Space Station (ISS) to record the lightning activity and TLEs in the UV band (180-230 nm) as well as the blue (337 nm) and the red (777.4 nm) emissions (Chanrion et al. [2019], Neubert et al. [2019]). Blue luminous events recorded by ASIM during the nighttime were first reported by Soler et al. [2021].

During 23:00-23:05 UTC on 3rd, February 2019, 188 MMIA triggers were recorded and more than 2000 lightning strokes were reported by the lightning detection and location network. We focus on a blue discharge event that happened at 23:02:41 UTC, which was caused by a negative narrow bipolar event (NBE) with no red and UV photomultiplier tube (PMT) pulses associated with it. The novelty of this work is that the height determination is carried out by using the ground-based electric field measurements and the space-based optical measurements from ASIM. The low-frequency electric field receiver was set up in Carnarvon, 30.97° S, 21.98° E, South Africa. The blue discharge height (15.83-18.67 km), calculated using the electric field measurements, is derived from the skywaves arrival times with a spherical Earth model. The ionospheric height calculated by this model (93.89 km) is consistent with that determined by the averaged cloud to ground discharges waveforms (93.68 km). The rising edge of the blue optical emission is analyzed to do the altitude estimation (14.3-15.8 km). The cloud top height is calculated as a reference (15.75-16.65 km), which is inferred from radiometric measurements, typically at a wavelength around 10 μm. The height of NBEs is important to help to understand the chemistry effects at the tropopause level caused by such events.

In the future, this data set would be used to study other properties of many events such as blue events and red events.



Chanrion, O., Neubert, T., Lundgaard Rasmussen, I. et al. The Modular Multispectral Imaging Array (MMIA) of the ASIM Payload on the International Space Station. Space Sci Rev 215, 28 (2019).

Neubert, T., Østgaard, N., Reglero, V. et al. The ASIM Mission on the International Space Station. Space Sci Rev 215, 26 (2019).

Soler, S.Gordillo-Vázquez, F. J.Pérez-Invernón, F. J.Luque, A.Li, D.Neubert, T., et al. (2021). Global frequency and geographical distribution of nighttime streamer corona discharges (BLUEs) in thundercloudsGeophysical Research Letters48, e2021GL094657.

How to cite: Bai, X., Fullekrug, M., Chanrion, O., Soula, S., Peverell, A., Mashao, D., Kosch, M., and Neubert, T.: Height Determination of a Blue Discharge Observed by ASIM/MMIA on the International Space Station, EGU General Assembly 2022, Vienna, Austria, 23–27 May 2022, EGU22-5994,, 2022.

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