We present statistical analysis of 436 sprites observed in 7 winter campaigns from 2006/7-2012/13. Results show a clear peak in the frequency of sprite detections, with maximum values (<. 40% of events) between 00:30 and 02:15 LST (22:30-00:15 UT; LST. = UT. +. 2). The detection times of sprites are well-correlated with a relative increase in the fraction of +. CG strokes, which exhibit maxima between 00:00 and 02:00 LST. The morphological distribution of 339 sprites, that we were able to clearly identify, is dominated by column sprites (49.3%), with angels (33.0%) and carrots (25.7%) being less frequent. This is similar to reports of winter sprites over the Sea of Japan and summer ones in Central Europe. Other shapes such as trees, wishbones, etc. appear quite rarely. Single element events constitute 16.5% of observations, with 83.5% containing 2 elements or more. Clusters of homogenous types are slightly more frequent than mixed ones (55%). Our observations suggest winter Mediterranean thunderstorms to have a vertical structure in between high tropical convective systems and the lower cloud-top cells in Japan. The climatology shows the Eastern Mediterranean to be a major sprite producer in Northern Hemisphere winter, and offers ground-based coverage for future space missions.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
The ILAN campaigns are tribute to Col. Ilan Ramon and his fellow astronauts in mission STS-107, who died on-board the space shuttle Columbia on February 1st, 2003. These campaigns were supported by the Israeli Science Foundation grants 145/03 and 117/09 and by the Research Authority of the Open University of Israel .
© 2015 Elsevier B.V.
- Eastern Mediterranean
- Winter thunderstorms