The local chemical impact of sprites is investigated for the first time. This study is motivated by the current understanding of the streamer nature of sprites: streamers are known to produce NOx, thus sprites are expected to lead to a local enhancement of the background abundances, and possibly impact ozone. We adopted the following strategy: middle atmosphere MIPAS/GMTR NO2 satellite measurements were correlated with ground-based WWLLN detections of large tropospheric thunderstorms as a proxy for sprite activity. We found no evidence of any significant impact at a global scale, but an indication of a possible sprite induced NO2 enhancement of about 10% at 52 km height in correspondence with active thunderstorms. This local enhancement appears to increase with height from a few percent at 47 km to tens of percent at 60 km.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Earth and Planetary Sciences (all)