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LEONA: transient luminous event and thunderstorm high energy emission collaborative network in Latin America

Grant number: 12/20366-7
Support type:Regular Research Grants
Duration: May 01, 2013 - October 31, 2015
Field of knowledge:Physical Sciences and Mathematics - Geosciences - Geophysics
Principal Investigator:Eliah Fernanda de Maria de São Sabbas Tavares
Grantee:Eliah Fernanda de Maria de São Sabbas Tavares
Home Institution: Instituto Nacional de Pesquisas Espaciais (INPE). Ministério da Ciência, Tecnologia, Inovações e Comunicações (Brasil). São José dos Campos , SP, Brazil
Assoc. researchers:Eduardo Martins Guerra


This project has the goal of establishing the Collaborative Network LEONA, to study the electrodynamical coupling of the atmospheric layers signaled by Transient Luminous Events - TLEs and High Energy Emissions from Thunderstorms (HEETs). We will develop and install a remotely controlled network of cameras to perform TLE observations in different locations in South America and one neutron detector in southern Brazil. The camera network will allow building a continuous data set of the phenomena studied in this continent. The first two prototype observation units are already installed, in Brazil and Peru. We expect to determine the TLE geographic distribution, occurrence rate, morphology, and possible coupling with other geophysical phenomena in South America, such as the South Atlantic Magnetic Anomaly - SAMA. We also expect to study HEETs in a region of intense electrical activity, measuring thunderstorm neutron bursts for the first time in South America, and therefore addressing one "hot" open question in Physics since their physical generation mechanism is completely unknown. Additionally, a neutron detector has many more applications, such as to study solar modulation and other atmospheric effects. Using an intensified high-speed camera for TLE observation during 2 campaigns we expect to be able to determine several parameters of the spatial-temporal development of the TLEs observed. The camera was acquired via the FAPESP project DEELUMINOS (2005-2010), which also nucleated our research group ACATMOS, i.e. Atmospheric and Space Electrodynamical Coupling. LEONA will nucleate this research in other institutions in Brazil and other countries in South America, providing continuity for this important research in our region. The camera network will be a unique tool to perform consistent long term TLE observation, and in fact is the only way to accumulate a data set for a climatological study of South America, since satellite instrumentation turns off in this region to avoid damages due to the energetic particle precipitation in the SAMA. Thus this project is not only a potential benchmark in TLE and HEET research by creating a collaborative network in Latin America and nucleating this research locally, it is also strategic since LEONA's camera network will be able to provide extremely valuable information to fill up this satellite gap. Plus, we will also attempt to make simultaneously observations of HEETs, TLEs and lightning for the first time ever. (AU)

Scientific publications
(References retrieved automatically from Web of Science and SciELO through information on FAPESP grants and their corresponding numbers as mentioned in the publications by the authors)
DINIZ, G.; RUTJES, C.; EBERT, U.; FERREIRA, I. S.; SAO SABBAS, E. F. M. T. Modeling Neutron Emissions in High Energy Atmospheric Phenomena. JOURNAL OF GEOPHYSICAL RESEARCH-ATMOSPHERES, v. 123, n. 22, p. 12726-12737, DEC 13 2018. Web of Science Citations: 0.

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