Relocation of ASIM towards nadir on ISS

After two years looking at limb, ASIM is back to its original nadir observation geometry. This occurred last 15 April 2024. ASIM will remain looking at nadir until the end of the mission.

Sprites themselves, although very brief, are much easier to see—and to study—than the green ghosts that accompany about one in every 100 of the Sprite red displays, says María Passas Varo, a space scientist at the Institute of Astrophysics of Andalusia in Spain and a co-author of the new research. She and her colleagues have spent more than four years gathering data about some 2,000 sprites, she says, but in only one case has the team snagged sharp observations of the green glow hovering over the sprite. That event occurred over the Mediterranean Sea on the evening of September 21, 2019, and it is the subject of the new research. Passas Varo and her colleagues examined the ghost using spectroscopy, which splits light according to its wavelength. The light we see as green, for example, has a wavelength of around 510 nanometers, whereas the wavelengths of blue and yellow shades are shorter and longer, respectively. The scientists expected to find atomic oxygen, which causes the eerie green auroras that paint the polar skies—and they did. But they also spotted emissions from metal in the form of atomic iron and nickel, among other signals, which Passas Varo says she didn’t expect at this altitude.

Mesospheric Green emissions from excited Oxygen in Sprite Tops (ghosts) are infrequent and faint greenish transient luminous events that remain for hundreds of milliseconds on top of certain energetic sprites. The main hypothesis to explain this glow persistence is the long lifetime of excited atomic oxygen at 557.73 nm, a well-known emission line in aurora and airglow. However, due to the lack of spectroscopic campaigns to analyse such events to date, the species involved in the process can not yet be identified. Here we report observational results showing the temporal evolution of a ghost spectrum between 500 nm and 600 nm. Besides weak -but certain- traces of excited atomic oxygen, our results show four main contributors related to the slow decay of the glow: atomic iron and nickel, molecular nitrogen and ionic molecular oxygen.

Monday 3 July 2023, the Lightning Imager (LI) on board Europe’s newest and most advanced meteorological satellite (MTG-I1) has been switched on and is delivering impressive first results. The LI instrument has four cameras covering Europe, Africa, the Middle East and parts of South America. The cameras will continuously observe lightning activity from space and EUMETSAT will disseminate the data to weather services in its member states and beyond. Crucially, EUMETSAT will deliver the data to weather services in Africa and other regions, where the capability to detect lightning with ground-based observations is limited. Each animation is a sequence of images created by collecting one minute’s worth of lightning measurements, overlaid on a single image of the Earth from the Lightning Imager.

Warming temperatures could drive up the rate of flashes, increasing the risk for more wildfires. 

A form of lightning with a knack for sparking wildfires may surge under climate change. An analysis of satellite data suggests “hot lightning” — strikes that channel electrical charge for an extended period — may be more likely to set landscapes ablaze than more ephemeral flashes, researchers report February 10 in Nature Communications. Each 1 degree Celsius of warming could spur a 10 percent increase in the most incendiary of these Promethean bolts, boosting their flash rate to about four times per second by 2090 — up from nearly three times per second in 2011. That’s dangerous, warns physicist Francisco Javier Pérez-Invernón of the Institute of Astrophysics of Andalusia in Granada, Spain. “There will be more risk of lightning-ignited wildfires.”

A new paper by Pérez-Invernón et al published in Nature Communications Feb 2023 explores the role of lightning as the main precursor of natural wildfires and Long-Continuing- Current (LCC) lightning flashes are proposed to be the main igniters of lightning-ignited wildfires (LIW). Previous studies predict a change of the global occurrence rate and spatial pattern of total lightning. Nevertheless, the sensitivity of lightning-ignited wildfire occurrence to climate change is uncertain. Here, we investigate space-based measurements of LCC lightning associated with lightning ignitions and present LCC lightning projections for the end of XXI century by applying a recent LCC lightning parameterization based on the updraft strength in thunderstorms. We find a 41% global increase of the LCC lightning flash rate. Increases are largest in South America, the western coast of North America, Central America, Australia, Southern and Eastern Asia, and Europe, while only regional variations are found in northern polar forests, where fire risk can affect permafrost soil carbon release. These results show that lightning schemes including LCC lightning are needed to project the occurrence of lightning-ignited wildfires under climate change.

Our colleague Dr. F. J. Pérez-Invernón was granted the prestigious "Ramón y Cajal" tenure track position at IAA

Our colleague Dr. F. J. Pérez-Invernón applied to the 2022 call of "Ramón y Cajal" tenure track positions and was selected among many candidates. Dr. Pérez-Invernón's "Ramón y Cajal" announcement was made public September 2023. He will be at the IAA-CSIC in Granada. The "Ramón y Cajal" tenure-track contracts are extremely competitive and difficult to obtain. 

On 10 January 2022, the ASIM payload installed outside the Columbus module on the International Space Station (ISS) was carefully relocated, using the robotic arm Canadarm2. ASIM will observing towards the limb from 10 January 2022 to early 2024.

New results from NASA's Juno mission at Jupiter suggest that either "sprites" or "elves" could be dancing in the upper atmosphere of the solar system's largest planet. It is the first time these bright, unpredictable and extremely brief flashes of light - formally known as transient luminous events, or TLE's - have been observed on another world. The findings were published on Oct. 27, 2020, in the Journal of Geophysical Research: Planets.

Con ayuda de un instrumento de la estación espacial internacional y sensores terrestres, investigadores del Instituto de Astrofísica de Andalucía del CSIC han detectado por primera vez la emisión simultánea de destellos azules y pulsos de radio en nubes de tormenta. Estos raros eventos se producen por descargas eléctricas formadas por filamentos de plasma o aire ionizado que, en lugar de ser calientes como las de los rayos, son frías. Son las llamadas descargas corona en nubes de tormenta, diferentes a los rayos. Las coronas en nubes de tormenta pueden contribuir de manera aún desconocida a generar gases de efecto invernadero como el ozono (O3) y óxido nitroso (N2O).

El blog nos dedica un espacio para la divulgación en su sección METEOROTECA.

Su autor, José Miguel Viñas, físico del aire y comunicador científico, además explica de forma sencilla, precisa y detallada los secretos de la electricidad atmosférica en este hilo de twitter.
Desde aquí nuestro agradecimiento.

Proyecto de Iniciación a la Investigación e Innovación en Secundaria en Andalucía

Título del proyecto: Análisis de descargas electrostáticas con un espectrógrafo de alta velocidad

El proyecto PIIISA surge de la colaboración entre la Delegación de Educación en Granada, el Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas (CSIC) y la Universidad de Granada (UGR) con el fin de ofrecer al alumnado granadino de secundaria una forma moderna e innovadora de aprender e interaccionar con la ciencia.

The 45th Annual European Meeting on Atmospheric Studies by Optical Methods, (45AM) was organised in Kiruna by the Swedish Institute of Space Physics (IRF) on 27-31 August 2018. Dr. María Passas Varo gave a talk as an invited speaker introducing GALIUS: the ultra-fast spectrograph for the study of lightning. PhD. student Thi Ny Kieu showed GALIUS first results in a poster.

After one year of the start of the SAINT action, the first summer school was held at the UPC in Barcelona (Spain). The school had a two-week program that included the ESR Workshop, participation of the 2018 campaign, invited scientific and industry lectures, meetings, tutorials, experiments and field activities. The whole TRAPPA group attended this summer school.

Dr. Javier Pérez Invernón participated in the European Geosciences Union General Assembly in April 2018, Vienna, Austria.

Lightning has been studied for centuries with surprisingly meager progress since the early breakthroughs of Franklin. There are numerous reasons for this lack of progress: lightning is complex, it is very energetic with large peak power - hard for in-situ probes to survive, it is spatially and temporally sparse-hard to place a sensor in an optimal location. However, modern technological advances and innovations have led to new remote sensing capabilities that are starting to peal back layersleading to improved understanding, while at the same time, revealing new mysteries.

[...] la Agencia Espacial Europea (ESA), ha lanzado un módulo de investigación denominado ASIM que está siendo instalado en estos momentos en la Estación Espacial Internacional. Francisco Gordillo, investigador del Grupo de Plasmas Transitorios en Atmósferas Planetarias del Departamento del Sistema Solar en el Instituto de Astrofísica de Andalucía, el IAA, nos da los detalles de este proyecto.

[...] Se llaman TLE, Eventos Luminosos Transitorios. Pero los TLE no son los únicos eventos de la atmósfera. Algo mucho más bestia ocurre ahí arriba: explosiones de rayos gamma, el rango de radiación más energético, muy intensas y de apenas unos pocos segundos de duración.... los TGF. Con Francisco Gordillo y Alejandro Luque, del IAA hablaremos sobre toda esta fenomenología tan curiosa y desconocida. Y también del proyecto ASIM, que hace sólo unas semanas lanzó un módulo al espacio para estudiarlo.

Investigadores del Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas (CSIC) colaboran en el análisis de los datos de la misión y mediante el apoyo desde tierra con instrumentos propios.

[...] "La detección, hace tres décadas, de intensos destellos en la mesosfera, una región de la atmósfera situada a partir de los 50 kilómetros por encima del suelo, supuso una sorpresa porque se creía que ésta carecía de actividad", apunta el investigador del CSIC Francisco Gordillo, que trabaja en el Instituto de Astrofísica de Andalucía. [...]

Capture is scheduled 04/04/2018 at 13:00 CEST. Docking will start at 14:30 CEST.

The Atmosphere-Space Interactions Monitor is a climate observatory for the International Space Station - ISS. It is developed by the ASIM consortium for ESA. Initial phases started in 2004 to 2009, and development started in 2010. ASIM was launched April 2nd, 2018, with CRS-14 Falcon-9/Dragon by SpaceX

Tuesday 3 of April 2018, Radio Euskadi station interviewed Dr. Francisco J. Gordillo Vázquez on the occasion of the launch of the Atmosphere Space Interactions Monitor (ASIM), to be installed within the Columbus module of the ISS.

Monday 2 April 2018 the Spanish radio station COPE interviewed Dr. Francisco J. Gordillo Vázquez on the occasion of the launch of the Atmosphere Space Interactions Monitor (ASIM), to be installed within the Columbus module of the ISS.

The Atmosphere Space Interactions Monitor (ASIM) launches off Cape Canaveral to observe lightning, sprites and terrestrial gamma ray flashes from the International Space Station. All systems are ready for SpaceX Falcon 9 launch from Cape Canaveral to ISS.

A new study in Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres presents the first high spectral resolution (0.24 nm) spectra of sprites, luminous events in the upper atmosphere induced by lightning. The spectra were recorded in Europe in the summers and falls of 2015 and 2016 and during January 2017.

The Winter School is the first time that the network is brought together and that all the Ph.D. students get a chance to meet each other. The purpose of the school is therefore two-fold: to introduce the students to the basic physics and methods of the SAINT network, and to have students and scientists get to know each other. To remind us all about the boundary conditions for the school, I extract the research objectives of SAINT from the proposal and the learning objectives of the school.

La franja entre Mágina y Sierra de Arana, la que más impactos nube-tierra registra en Granada.

Una investigación realizada por la Universidad de Berkeley predice un 50 % más de relámpagos para finales de este siglo debido al incremento de la temperatura por el calentamiento global.

Our group participated in the 33rd International Conference on Phenomena in Ionized Gases held in Estoril, Portugal, in July 2017 with three oral communications on the Symposium on Plasma Physics by Dr. Francisco J. Gordillo Vázquez (invited talk), Javier Pérez Invernón and Alejandro Malagón Romero, respectively. We also showed our main results in two posters by Dr. Marta González García and Dr. María Passas Varo, respectively.

Our group participated in the 33rd International Conference on Phenomena in Ionized Gases held in Estoril, Portugal, in July 2017 with an oral communication by Javier Pérez Invernón and two posters by Dr. Francisco J. Gordillo Vázquez and Alejandro Malagón Romero, respectively.

Javier Pérez Invernón participated with an oral communication in the 5th National Meeting in Planetary Sciences and Solar System Exploration held in Madrid, Spain, in June 2017.

Dr. Francisco J. Gordillo Vázquez, Dr. Alejandro Luque Estepa and Javier Pérez Invernón participated with an oral communication in the European Geosciences Union General Assembly in April 2017, Vienna, Austria. Alejandro Malagón Romero also presented some results of our research with a poster.

Dr. Francisco J. Gordillo Vázquez participated as an invited speaker (Ground-based optical spectroscopy of plasma phenomena in the upper atmosphere of the Earth) in the 12th biennial Frontiers in Low Temperature Plasma Diagnostics (FLTPD) workshop, organzised by the University of Belgrade (Faculty of Physics and Institute of Physics).

We invite you to discover the human side of research through a direct contact and conversation with experts. It is the European Researchers' Night, which we will celebrate next September 30 in the eight Andalusian capitals for the fifth consecutive year and at the same time that other 250 European cities.

How energetic would lightning on Venus have to be to be detected by sensors? A new model sheds light.

Located in Barcelona, Spain, Granada Sprite Spectrograph and Polarimeter is a ground-based spectrographic system for the analysis of the spectroscopic signature of transient luminous events occurring in the mesosphere of the Earth.

Gaseous planets may have huge luminous rings caused by lightning. What business do elves have in the upper atmospheres of gas giants? Plenty, it seems. The enormous ring-shaped phenomena triggered by lightning may occur on Jupiter, Saturn, and exoplanets.

Third TEA-IS Conference in Thunderstorm Effects on the Atmosphere-Ionosphere System. Celebrating 5 years of TEA-IS Network collaborations and looking forward great expectations of the ASIM and TARANIS missions.

eLightning is a research project about one of the most familiar but also least understood phenomena in nature: the lightning discharge. We will use what we know about discharges in the upper atmosphere to look for answers to some of the most pressing questions about lightning: why do most lightning channels advance discontinuously? what is the source of X- and gamma rays emanating from lightning and thunderclouds?

As electric activity influences the atmosphere chemical composition, so it does on the climate. And there are several ways to study this phenomenon.

Thunderstorm Effects on the Atmosphere-Ionosphere System (TEA-IS) is an ESF Research Networking Programme which started in May 2011 and will last until May 2016. So far there are more than 100 scientists from nine countries involved. This is the second summer school organised by this ESF project.

This prestigious conference has been the forum for discussion of nearly all fields in plasma science since 1953, from the fundamentals of the interaction of charged particles with molecules to plasma chemistry, surface treatment and thin film technology, plasma medicine, light sources, plasma assisted combustion, plasma material processing, atmospheric and stellar plasmas, environmental protection and pollution control, plasma aerodynamics, and non-thermal plasmas in fusion devices.

Thunderstorm Effects on the Atmosphere-Ionosphere System (TEA-IS) is a recentlty approved ESF Research Networking Programme which started in May 2011 and will last until May 2016. So far there are more than 100 scientists from nine countries involved.

Our colleague Dr. Alejandro Luque was granted the prestigious "Ramón y Cajal" tenure track position at IAA in 2012

Our colleague Dr. A. Luque applied to the 2011 call of "Ramón y Cajal" tenure track positions and was selected among many candidates. Dr. Luque's "Ramón y Cajal" announcement was made public in 2012. He will stay at the IAA-CSIC in Granada. The "Ramón y Cajal" tenure-track contracts are extremely competitive and difficult to obtain. 

The amazing world of Transient Luminous Events.

The ESCAMPIG, an international conference being celebrated since 1973, is celebrated biannually and covers a wide range of basic and applied plasma science. In this new edition of ESCAMPIG, the International Scientific Committee has renovated the conference topics that range from atomic and molecular processes in plasmas and plasma-surface interaction to self-organization in plasmas or to the new research lines with low and high pressure plasma sources. Research in natural plasmas such as space plasmas and the emerging research field of discharge plasmas in the Earth upper atmosphere are also covered.