Thundercloud Configurations Favorable for Radiation Enhancement in Surface Detectors at Aragats

Hripsime Mkrtchyan, Massachusetts Institute of Technology


Abstract:  The mountainous terrain of Armenia contributes to thunderstorm formation there. Observations for more than a decade at the high (3200 m MSL) Aragats mountain station have demonstrated the presence of runaway electrons, accelerated downward by the electric field of the storm, to produce so-called Thunderstorm Ground Enhancements. More than 500 cases have been observed from 2012 to 2020.

The goal of this project is to study and explore thundercloud electrical structure using the bulk information on particle fluxes correlated with thunderstorms and to develop and improve the physical model for Thunderstorm Ground Enhancements. This is the first research which combines the bipolar electric field, particle fluxes and radar measurements in a single study. The findings from this integration of observations provide a new approach to a more comprehensive understanding of the role of cloud physics in high energy atmospheric physics and for an evaluation of the role of runaway electrons in the global electrical circuit.

BIO:  Hripsime Mkrtchyan is Postdoc at the Civil and Engineering department of MIT. Her research is devoted to investigation of thundercloud electric structure. She has finished her PhD at Cosmic Ray Division of Alikhanian National Science Laboratory, Armenia. Furthermore, she is actively involved in science popularization. Currently,  Dr. Mkrtchyan is a member of the Early Career Scientists Committee of AGU Atmospheric Space Electricity. Also, she has been selected as an Action Committee member of European Physical Society Young Minds Programme.