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The discovery of transient airglows above thunderstorms, known as sprites and jets, have shed a fresh new light on a `terra incognita' in the Earth's atmosphere, the area above thunderstorms. The fast discovery pace of novel phenomena has spurred studies of energetic radiation, relativistic particles and anti-matter emanating from inside thunderclouds and above thunderlcouds. These observations mark a profound advance in our understanding of the Earth's atmospheric electrodynamic behaviour. Namely, the discoveries mandate the inclusion of cosmic rays, relativistic electron beams, large scales, and energetic feedback processes in our thinking about the Earth's atmosphere, perhaps best collectively summarised as relativistic atmospheric electrodynamics.
Date of Conference: 13-20 Aug. 2011