Multi-instrumental observations of a positive gigantic jet produced by a winter thunderstorm in Europe

O A van der Velde, J Bor, J B Li, S A Cummer, E Arnone, F Zanotti, Martin Fullekrug, C Haldoupis, S NaitAmor, T Farges

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At 2336:56 UTC on 12 December 2009, a bright gigantic jet (GJ) was recorded by an observer in Italy. Forty-nine additional sprites, elves, halos and two cases of upward lightning were observed that night. The location of the GJ corresponded to a distinct cloud top (-34 degrees C) west of Ajaccio, Corsica. The GJ reached approximately 91 km altitude, with a "trailing jet" reaching 49-59 km, matching with earlier reported GJs. The duration was short at 120-160 ms. This is the first documented GJ which emerged from a maritime winter thunderstorm only 6.5 km tall, showing high cloud tops are not required for initiation of GJs. In the presence of strong vertical wind shear, the meteorological situation was different from typical outbreaks of fall and winter thunderstorms in the Mediterranean. During the trailing jet phase of the GJ, a sprite with halo triggered by a nearby cloud-to-ground lightning flash occurred at a relatively low altitude (
Original languageEnglish
Article numberD24301
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research
Issue numberD24
Publication statusPublished - 16 Dec 2010


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