What is our physical understanding of middle atmosphere and ionosphere perturbations caused by lightning? Electric currents and electromagnetic energy from lightning pass through the middle atmosphere and occasionally result in direct optical phenomena such as sprites, blue jets, and elves. Additionally low frequency electromagnetic energy from lightning penetrates entirely through the ionosphere, interacting with the ionospheric plasmas at all levels. These high altitude optical and electrical effects from lightning were not predicted and were thus a great surprise and continue to be exciting interest in the scientific comunity. Recent balloon, rocket and satellite experiments will form the basis for a review of the in-situ electrodynamical measurements above thunderstorms. So far no one has actually succeeded in making direct measurements in the luminous region of a red sprite, but we do not know many things about them from remote measurements. This talk will attempt to review our state of understanding of the physical phenomena in the middle atmosphere and ionosphere which is caused by lightning.


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