Scientific motivation


“Despite the ubiquity of thunderstorms, lightning, and related electrical phenomena, many important electromagnetic processes in our atmosphere are poorly understood. For example, many questions remain about thundercloud electrification and discharge mechanisms, lightning initiation, propagation and attachment processes, compact intra-cloud discharges, the global electrical circuit, and transient luminous events. Traditionally, these topics have been studied using classical electromagnetism. However, in the last few years, a growing body of literature has emerged that describes the production, transport and interactions of energetic particles in our atmosphere. Specifically, it is now well established that thunderclouds, lightning, and long laboratory sparks in air all produce energetic runaway electrons and accompanying x-ray and gamma-ray emissions. Such high-energy particles interact with air atoms, forming low-energy electron and ion populations that may greatly increase the conductivity of air, potentially affecting the physics of thunderclouds and lightning. We shall refer to the rapidly expanding field of energetic particle and radiation physics in terrestrial and planetary atmospheres, and their effects, as High-Energy Atmospheric Physics. Not only does this field impact traditional atmospheric electricity and lightning physics, it also has implications for the study of cosmic-ray extensive air showers, discharge physics, space physics, plasma physics, and aviation safety.”1

1 Dwyer J R, Smith D M, Cummer S A, 2012 Space Sci Rev, DOI 10.1007/s11214-012-9894-0



Studying of the High-energy Phenomena in the atmosphere is important for several reasons:


  • It provides unique information about particle acceleration and multiplication in the lower and upper atmosphere during thunderstorms;
  • Generation and propagation of huge fluxes of electrons, positrons, gammas and neutrons in the atmosphere and in space are newly discovered global processes that should be studied by experimental and theoretical methods;
  • Electromagnetic emissions connected with thunderstorms trigger various dynamic processes in the Earth’s magnetosphere, causing global geo-effects and changing electrodynamics properties of the ionosphere.
  • The large fluences of energetic electrons, photons and neutrons produced by runaway electron avalanches can potentially be a danger to individuals in aircraft.



   The aim of the Symposium is two-fold:

1. To organize a large forum for discussing thunderstorm correlated observations of particle fluxes in the atmosphere and space and models of high energy phenomena originated in the atmosphere;

2. To discuss possible directions for the advancement in research, and for international cooperation between scientific groups using different experimental methods.


    Based on these goals the following topics will be covered: 


  • Research of the Thunderstorm ground enhancements (TGEs), measurements of electrons, gamma rays and neutrons by networks of particle detectors located on Earth’s surface in correlation with thunderstorms;
  • Research of the Terrestrial gamma-ray flashes (TGFs) observed by the orbiting gamma-ray observatories;
  • Radio emissions produced by TGFs.  
  • Monitoring of thunderclouds from orbit; 
  • Methods of the remote sensing of the thunderstorm structure and electric field;
  • Relation of the lightning occurrences to the TGE and TGF initiation;
  • X-ray emissions from lightning;
  • Relations to the climate and space weather issues;
  • Possibility of joint observations by space-born and ground-based facilities.






Cosmic Ray Division of Alikhanyan PhysicsInstitute Yerevan Physics Institute Skobeltsyn Institute of Nuclear Physics of MoscowState University Central Bank of Armenia SupportCommittee for Armenia's Cosmic Ray Division(SCACRD)