Sprite climatology in the Eastern Mediterranean Region

Yoav Yair, Colin Price, Dor Katzenelson, Neta Rosenthal, Lior Rubanenko, Yuval Ben-Ami, Enrico Arnone

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


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.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)108-118
Number of pages11
JournalAtmospheric Research
StatePublished - 5 Apr 2015

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2015 Elsevier B.V.


  • Eastern Mediterranean
  • Lightning
  • Sprites
  • Winter thunderstorms


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