AO’s Terra and Brum worked with Salazar taking her initial data analysis, refining it and providing interpretation for the study.

“Sophia’s dedication and her ability to solve problems grabbed our attention from the very first day of the REU program,” Brum says. “Her efforts in developing this project resulted in publication in one of the most prestigious journals in our field.”

“Another remarkable result of this work is that for the first time, a mapping of the spatial and seasonal occurrence of lightning strike over the region of the Puerto Rico archipelago is presented,” Brum says. “Intriguing was also the detection of a lighting activity hotspot concentrated in the western part of La Cordillera Central mountain range of Puerto Rico.”

About the authors:

da Silva conducts research in the area of atmospheric sciences, geophysics, and plasma physics. He’s intrigued by space electricity; thunderstorms and their effects in the near-Earth space environment; lightning physics; modeling of electrical discharge plasmas; and development of computer-based tools for analysis of atmospheric and geophysical phenomena. He holds multiple degrees including a doctorate in electrical engineering from Penn State University and a master’s degree in geophysics and space physics from the National Institute for Space Research (INPE) in Brazil, which is the same alma mater of Brum and Terra. The three INPE alumni had a brief brainstorming session over coffee about this project in the AGU 2018 Fall Meeting, in San Francisco, California.

Terra who worked at AO since 2006, was a post-doctoral scholar at Cornell University. She has multiple degrees including an electrical engineering degree and both master’s and doctorate in space physics from the INPE Research in Brazil. Terra is a UCF’s graduate faculty member and is the responsible for the passive optical laboratories at AO, including the remote facility at the island of Culebra.

Brum has been working at AO since 2007 and was a post-doctoral scholar at INPE, Utah State University, and Cornell University. He holds multiple degrees including a master’s and a doctorate degree in space geophysics from the INPE. Brum is the head of the AO Space and Atmospheric department, Deputy Director of Science Operations, and a UCF graduate faculty member.