Graduate Students

MSc Students:
Graduated in 1999.  Ephrat finished her Masters degree in 1999.  She worked on a project dealing with Water Balance in the Middle East.  She attempted to look at how the water balance (effective precipitation= P-Ep) has changed over the last 50 years in the Middle East based on observational data.  (e-mail:  ephrat@flash.tau.ac.il) 
Mustafa Asfur Graduated in 2000.  Mustafa worked on the topic of sprites, and the detection of the extremely low frequency (ELF) electromagnetic radiation emitted by the lightning that produces the sprite.  Optical observations of sprites by Dr. Walt Lyons in Colorado were compared with the ELF measurements in Israel. (e-mail: mustafa@flash.tau.ac.il)
Graduated in 2001. Moshe worked on the topic of radio waves produced by incoming meteors.  We were involved with the 1999 Leonid meteor shower campaign in Israel, duing which we collected ELF/VLF data continuously.  We have found clear electromagnetic pulses produced by the incoming meteors. (e-mail: mosheb@zoot.tau.ac.il)
Graduated in 2003. Olga studied the connections between rainfall and lightning activity in winter thunderstorms in Israel.  She used a combination of satellite and ground-based measurements to study a few intesnse thunderstorms in Israel.  She found a lag of approximately 10 minutes between peak lightning activity and peak rainfall. (e-mail: pechony@hail.tau.ac.il)
Eran Greenberg
Graduated in 2004.  Eran developed a new Schumann resonance algorithm for globally geo-locating intense lightning flashes around the globe.  This discharges most likely trigger the formation of sprites in the upper atmosphere.  Eran also used a number of stations to geolocate lightning during the MEIDEX space shuttle mission. (erangree@post.tau.ac.il)

Bela Federmesser
Graduated in 2004. Bela studied the thunderstorm and lightning patterns over the entire Mediterranean Sea.  Using the TRMM satellite with both precipitation radar (PR) and lightning sensors (LIS) she studied the interannual variability of thunderstorms during the winter months, and the relationship between lightning and rainfall. (e-mail: uvai@zoot.tau.ac.il)

Graduated in 2005.  Adi studied natural electromagnetic signals in the ultra low frequency (ULF) range.  A new ULF monitoring site has been set up near Eilat to investigate the possibility that ULF precursors may exist prior to large earthquakes.  Such precursors have been observed in other regions of the world.  Adi is involved in the ULF data analysis and interpretation. (adizomer@gmail.com)

Graduated in 2008.  Michal hunted for sprites, elves and other transient luminous events (TLEs) above winter thunderstorms in Israel.  We hope to observe sprites for the first time in the eastern Mediterranean, and during winter thunderstorms.  Michal will investigate the type of thunderstorms that are likely to produce sprites in our region. (michal.ganot@gmail.com)

Yosi is involved with our sprite hunting program called ILAN.  Yosi has developed a remotely controlled system to automatically track thunderstorms with optical cameras.  The system can be operated from any location with an internet connection, and hence can be operated from home.  Yosi is developing the software to track sprite-producing storms via lightning data obtained from a local VLF lightnign detection system (ysherez@gmail.com).

Graduated in 2008.  Oren studyied the impact of the ENSO cycle on rainfall in the eastern Mediterranean.  As a result of some earlier findings showing a positive correlation between ENSO and rainfall in northern Israel, Oren is extending the study, and investigating the physical reasons for these connections.  (Oren_Davidoff@yahoo.com)

Graduated in 2010. Moriah is studying flash floods across the Mediterranean region using lightning data from the ZEUS network in Greece.  This is part of a large EU projet named FLASH to try to better understand and predict flash floods.  Moriah is using lightnign data to develop nowcasting algorithms for the coming 3-6 hours (moriahko@post.tau.ac.il)

Graduated in 2009. Shahar is also involved in the flash flood project FLASH, however, focusing on the hydrological aspects of flash floods.  We are working together with Efrat Morin of the Hebrew University on this project to simulate past and future flash flood events in Israel and other Mediterranean countries. (shahar_rozalis@yahoo.com)

Graduated in 2009.  Gady studied in the Porter School for Environmental Sciences (PSES) under my guidance together with Prof. Yoav Yair from the Open University.  Gady studied the link between lightning activity in Israel and urban areas.  He looked to see if the spatial distribution of lightning is influenced by the large metropolitan regions of Tel Aviv and Haifa.  One interesting find is the mazximum in positive ground flashes detected east of Tel Aviv, while a minimum in lightning was detected over parks within the city.  (gady.binshtok@intel.com)

Graduated in 2009.  Gil studied under the joint guidance of Prof. Pinhas Alpert and myself.  The goal of the thesis was to investigate the role of the artificial Yatir forest in the south of Israel, on the local climate.  Does the forest have any regional effects on temperature, humidity, wind, and even precipitation.  Due to the size of the Yatir forest, the results showed a very small impact on the local climate outside of the forest. (gilyosef@post.tau.ac.il )

Never graduated. Alex is using the DEMETER satellite electromagnetic data to investigate anomalies related to seismic events in the eastern Mediterranean region.  His work will compliment the ground based measurements in the ULF range performed by others in our group.  Alex plans to look at ELF and ULF data from the DEMETER satellite. (doctor_alex78@nana.co.il)

Graduated in 2009. Roy  graduated in 2009.  He was in involved in the optical observations of sprites using calibrated cameras.  Roy developed a method of using cheap WATEC cameras for obtaining information about the brightness of sprites.  He has calibrated our cameras and used the results of our calibrated meausurements to make comparisons with sprite features, such as sprite length, number of elements, etc. (royya@012.net.il)

Graduated in 2013.  Naama worked on the problem of hurricane formation in the Atlantic Ocean.  We have recently found some interesting connections between hurricane genesis and electrical activity in these storms.  Naama looked at both IR cloud images, and lightning data, over Africa, to see if we can find any additional information about which African Easterly Waves (AEWs) develop into tropical storms, and then hurricanes.  She found that the area coverage of cold clouds in West Africa is a good proxy for which waves will develop into hurricanes (reicher.naama@gmail.com)

 Never graduated. Leonid was studying the spatial distribution of lightnign activity in tropical storms to see if there is a difference in the lightning patterns between tropical storms that grow into hurricanes, compared with tropical storms that die out.  How does the spatial pattern differ as the storm grows from category 1 to category 5?  Can we say something about the future of the tropical storm development from the lightning data? (neoleodin@gmail.com)

Keren graduated in 2013. It is always quoted in books at papers that there are ~2000 thunderstorms active at any time around the globe.  This was obtained from a simple caluclation made in 1925!  Since then nobody has checked this estimate.  Keren is using global lightning data from the WWLLN network, together with cluster schemes, to count the number of active thunderstorms that exist on our planet.  How do the numbers of storms vary as a function of hour, day, month, season, and year? And how well do these clusters match the famoues Carnegie Curve? (kerenme@gmail.com)
Hofit graduated in 2015.  Hofit was studying the possible occurrence of ULF precursors before earthquakes.  It has been shown by a number of research groups that ultra low frequency (ULF) magnetic anomalies occur weeks or even months before large earthquakes.  Hofit has helped set up a chain of 3 ULF stations along the Dead-Sea Rift valley to monitor the natural ULF fields continuously.  She is developing algorithms to monitor the local and regional magnetic activity, with the purpose of trying to detect signals related to seismic activity in our region. (hofash@gmail.com)
Shay graduated in 2016. Shay was using the clustering scheme developed by Keren Mezuman (above) to look at patterns of these thunderstorm clusters in hurricanes and tropical storms.  We know that hurricanes have electrical activity in their rainbands, but how are these storm clusters related to the tropical storm intensification?  It appears that the number of clusters in the hurricane may tell us something about the future state of the storm, with possibilities to improve the forecast of the intensification of these monstor storms. (shay1606@gmail.com)
Maayan graduated in 2018.  Maayan was studying the link between thunderstorms and climate change.  Using the clustering scheme of Keren Mezuman (above) we were looking at the link between regional temperatures, instabilities, water vapour, etc. and the number, size and intensity of thunderstorm clusters.  Will warmer temperatures result in more thunderstorms with the same intensity, less storms but more intense, or more storms that are also more intense?  Hopefully Maayan's research will allow us to better understand what may happen in the future to thunderstorms. (maayanmoose@gmail.com)
Gil graduated in 2015.  Gil was studiying the wave propagation of infrasound waves (sub-acoustic) in the atmosphere.  These infrasound waves can be produced by many factors, from explosions, to earthquakes, thunderstorms, sea swells, volcanoes, and more.  Gil is simulating the propagation of these acoustic waves in the atmosphere, and the transition of the waves from below the Earth's surface into the atmosphere.  Since we have already detected the infrasound signatures of sprites in our data, Gil is trying to simulate the propagation path from sprites to our detectors in Israel.  (gil.averbuch@gmail.com)

Alisa graduated in 2016. Alisa was working on problems related to marine stratocumulus (MSC) clouds detected by satellite imagery.  This is a project together with Ilan Koren from Weizmann Institute.  MSC clouds are low level water clouds normally found above cold ocean currents (west of California, west of Peru) that influence the albedo of our planet.  The higher the albedo (reflectivity) of Earth, the cooler it gets.  Hence changes in MSC clouds can impact global warming.  Alisa has developed a metod to catergorize the cellular structor of these clouds detected in satellite images (agufan@gmail.com).
Shai graduated in 2017. Shai was studying the fair weather atmospheric electricity in Israel.  We have both conduction current sensors and electric field sensors at our field sites, and Shai will help interpret the data we are collecting.  We are interested in understanding the connection between local and global sources of variability in the atmospheric electricity data.  Shai is also involved in our winter observations of sprites in Israel (ILAN project). (shaikatz1@mail.tau.ac.il)l

Ron graduated in 2017.  Ron was working on problems of Big Data using smartphones as sensors.  It turns out that today most smartphones have many different micro-sensors that detect and monitor our environment.  For example, there are sensors for pressure, magnetic field, gravity, humidity, light, temperature, and more.  We are investigating the sensititvity of these sensor to changes in the atmospheric parameters.  We have purchased a few smartphones to perform control experiments in order to better understand how we can tap into this huge data source from around the globe (ronmaor7@gmail.com).

Uriel graduated in 2020.  Uriel carried out research related to Space Weather.  This was a joint thesis under the supervision of Dr. Sari Katz (Soreq Nuclear Research Center) as well.  The research looked at satellite failures are malfunctions as a result of solar storms.  Uriel investigated many different satellite malfunctions, some published in the literature, others not.  He developed a empirical model to try to predict the type of damage to satellites based on different types of solar storms  (elpelado.uriel@gmail.com).

Aviad is studying the relationship between lightning and rainfall using satellite data.  He used data from two different satellites.  The first is the new Global Lightning Mapper (GLM) on the GOES geostationary satellite based on an optical lightning sensor.  The other satellite is  the Global Precipitaiton Mission (GPM) that detects rainfall using a spaceborne radar.  Since the GLM satellite is a geostationary satellite over the Americas, Aviad has been studing the lightning-rainfall relationships over South America,   (aviad90b@gmail.com)

Tamir is studying ground level gamma ray enhancements at our Mt. Hermon geophysical observatory.  There have been reported two types of gamma ray enhancements close to the ground.  One is related to rainfall washout of radon daughters, and the gamma radiaiton associated with them.  The second is due to the high electric fields observed in thunderstorms that can acelerate electrons to relativistic speeds, producing gamma rays.  Tamir analysed many cases observed at the Mt. Hermon site, to try to separate these two effects and to study the main cause of these enhancements.  This research is done under the joint supervision of Dr. Yuval Reuveni of Ariel University  (tamirtzadok@mail.tau.ac.il)
Dekel is studying the use of lightning data for better understanding severe storms, and flood events.  The research started as a result of a flash flood in the Arava in Israel that killed 10 students. Recently our group together with Earth Networks has set up a new local lightning detection network that can detect both intracoud and cloud-to-ground  lightning, as well as peak current, polarity, etc.  Dekel is using these data to understand the link between flash floods and lightning activity.  He is also studying the lightning climatology across the region using the EN data (dekel.shahar@gmail.com)
Ziv us developing a new smartphone App to collect smartphone sensor data for our research.  We are interested in collecting mainly pressure data from the sensor in smartphones carried by the public.  These data will be used for various research projects, but Ziv will be looking at high spatial resolution data to see how these high resolution data can increase our knowledge of weather systems in Israel.  We also wish to use these collected data from the public to help initialise weather forecast models, and to see whether the smartphone data can improve short term weather forecasts. (zivsapir@mail.tau.ac.il)
Tair is working on a joint Israel-India project related to extremely low frequency (ELF) waves produced by lightning, called the Schumann resonances.  The goal of the project is to understand the link between regional and global lightning, and upper tropospheric water vapor.  The water vapor in the upper troposphere is transported there mainly through thunderstorms, and this source of water vapor is extremely important for cirrus cloud formation, but also for climate feedbacks. (tairplot@gmail.com)
Raam is looking at how thunderstorms may have changed over the past decades over South America and Asia.  He is using reanalysis data from the ECMWF and lightning data from the WWLLN network to build an empirical model that we will be able to use back in time to estimate the changes in thunderstorm activity since the 1950s.  There is a lot of evidence of increased injuries and deaths from lightning in tropical countries, but is this due to climate change or simply a growth in population in those areas? (raamb@mail.tau.ac.il)
Maayan is doing a joint research project with Dr. Azi Lipshtat (Soreq National Data Center) and Prof. Anthony Weiss (TAU) on the topic of lightning waveform comparisons in the infrasound part of the acoustic frequency, and the very low frequency (VLF) part of the EM frequencies. Lightning is generally detected using VLF antenna, while less researsch has been done on the infrasound spectrum.  Maayan is making a comparison of signals both measured at the same location in northern Israel.  (maayanka178@gmail.com)
Navot is carrying out research in collaboration with Prof. Drew Shindell of Duke University.  The project is related to the impact of aerosols on the efficiency of solar panels.  Dust and pollution can reduce the efficiency of solar panels dramatically, and in order to understand the impact by different aerosols and different locations Navotr will be carrying out experiments with a set up built by Duke University.  The results will be used in climate models to understand the regional impact on solar energy generation. (nyehieli@gmail.com)
Orly is studying the impact of sea level rise due to climate change on the coastline of Israel.  This research is jointly supervised by Prof. Michelle Portman (Technion) and is an interdisciplinary project looking at the future impacts of sea level rise on the Israeli coastline.  Orly is analysing data related to seasonal and interannual wave height, and will look at future forecasts of sea level rise for the Eastern Mediterranean.  The results will be presented to policy makers. (orly@ndnadvisers.com)

PhD Students:

Mustafa Asfur
Graduated 2005. Mustafa has investigated the connection between regional lightning activity (using the Schumann resonances) over Africa and various important climate parameters, such as surface temperature, large scale updrafts, and upper tropospheric water vapor.  Mustafa has found some remarkable relationships between daily thunderstorm activity in Africa and the moistening of the upper atmosphere a day later.  In addtion, he devloped and empirical model to study long term thunderstorm activity over tropical Africa.  Mustafa started his PhD research working on the geolocation of sprites using ELF/VLF methods. (asfurm@gmail.com)
Graduated in 2007. Olga developed a new theoretical model of the Schumann resonance, using a combination of two previous models: the partially uniform (day-night earth-ionosphere cavity) model and the "knee" ionospheric conductivity profile model, into the PUK model (partially-uniform knee model).  This model is capable of simulated to observed Schumann resonance parameters for a wide range of boundary conditions, including other planets.  Olga will be using her model to explain certain features in the observed ELF data, such as the terminator-effect, and the variability in the amplitude, frequency and damping of the Schumann resonance parameters. (pechony@gmail.com)

Graduated 2011. Eran is working on ELF detection of lightning, with a focus on ELF transient.  These transients are produced by intense lightning flashes around the planet, and are also believed to be the trigger for most of the sprites and othe TLEs around the planet.  Eran has been looking at ELF statistics from our Mitzpe Ramon ELF site, and contributing to our winter sprite observation campaigns.   (greenberg88@gmail.com)
Graduated 2011. Adi has continued his MSc work by expanding our investigation into ULF precursors to earthquakes.  Adi is establishing a second ULF site close to the Dead Sea, while simultaneously collecting ULF magnetic data and seismic data.  In addition to the seismic comparisons, Adi is also studying space weather anomalies in our data, including changes in the ground observations across the terminator (sunrise and sunset). (adizomer@gmail.com)
Graduated 2011. Yuval will be focusing his studies in the very low frequency (VLF) range, to observe and model the natural and anthropogenic radiation in the atmosphere.  VLF radiation is emitteed naturally by lightning discharges, while anthropogenic sources are primarily VLF transmitters used for navigation purposes.  These transmitters have known location, output energy and frequency, and hence can be used as a controlled source to study changes in the ionospheric properties due to solar storms, sprites, and other transient events. (Yuval.Reuveni@jpl.nasa.gov)

Graduated 2014. Daria worked on sprite formation on Jupiter, Venus and Saturn. Daria spent her first year working on laboratory experiments of sprites in collaboration with the Dutch group of Ute Ebert.  Daria is looking at the structure, spectra and formation of sprites in different atmospheric compositions. Her research points to the likelihood of sprites existing on other planets, especially Jupiter and Saturn. (dashafl@gmail.com)

Graduated 2019. Gal was working on the Schumann resonances produced by global lightning in the extremely low frequency (ELF) range.  These frequencies are between 5-45 Hz, and we continuously monitor and archive these data at our field sites in Israel.  In addition to the lightning fields, it is known that many biological systems, from zooplankton to the human brain, exhibit electrical activity in the same ELF range.  Gal is attempting to understand if any links exist between the Schumann resonance fields and biological systems. (galelhalel@gmail.com)

Graduated 2016.  Israel was studying short and long term changes of the upper atmosphere.  As the troposphere warms due to global warming, the upper atmosphere is cooling at a much faster rate, resulting in a lowering of the D-region of the ionosphere.  Israel is using VLF narrowband methods to study changes in the reflection height of the lower ionopshere, while also using infrared measurements of the OH airglow layer to study changes in the temperature at ~90km altitude above Israel.  Is there a link between changes in temperature at the mesopause and changes in the VLF reflection height? (silver.snot@gmail.com)
David Shai

Graduated 2018. David (Shai) was working in the field of infrasound observations and analysis related to atmospheric processes.  David was using the Israeli infrasound network to study the signatures of thunderstorms and sprites, as well as the impact of Mt. Etna on the infrasound signals detected here in Israel.  We have also gained access to the global CTBTO network of infrasound sensor that we wish to use to study the convection and thunderstorms in tropical Africa that often lead to the formation of hurricanes. (david.applbaum@gmail.com)

Roy graduated in 2018.  Roy was working on problems of fair weather atmospheric electricity.  He has helped construct a new field site on Mt. Hermon, with both a vertical electric field meter and vertical conduction current meter.  We now have 2 identical stations separated by a few hundred kilometers.  In addition, Roy is involved in simultaneous balloon sounding of the fair weather electricity profile from Israel, UK, Spain, Russia and Antarctica.  These profiles show the cosmic ray ionization profile of the atmosphere, and the differences that occur with latitude, season, etc.  How do solar storms impact these fields at the ground and aloft?  What is the local contribution?  (royyaniv78@gmail.com)

Hofit is working on ways to use smartphone data from the public to investigate, and perhaps predict, natural hazards.  Given the suite of sensitive micro-sensors in smartphones these days, we are investigating the possibility of using these data, from the public, in our research.  We have access to tens of thousands of users every day from around the world, and are trying to use these Big Data for studying natural hazards such as typhoons, earthquakes, solar storms and more.  With the increasing number of smartphones used around the world, and the reduction in price and size of these micro-sensors, we wish to tap into this huge source of environmental data for our research purposes (hofash@gmail.com).

Judi is working on a new idea of producing renewable energy from humidity in the atmosphere.  From our knowledge of electrification in thunderstorms we understand that water is involved in the electrification process in clouds.  Can we use this information of how water charges drops in clouds to produce electricity at ground level.  It turns out that different metals are charged spontaneously in the air when the relative humidity rises above 60%.  We have produced an experiment to show that under normal outdoor conditions in the humid Israel summer air, we can charge metals up to ~1Volt.  When the air is dry no charging occurs. Judi is trying to understand these processes, and to investigate whether we can increase the efficiency of our humidity "battery" and also whether it is possible to scale this up to make it a practical solution for use in the future (laxjudi@gmail.com).

Shai is involved in a project to improve weather forecasting models, especially in developing nations.  One main problem with weather forecast models is the initial conditions used to start the model forecast.  We think that today with the billions of smartphones around the globe, maybe we can use pressure data collected by the public in their phones to help initialise our forecast models.  The pressure data in smartphones is quite reliable and not influenced by whether you are indoors or outdoors.  The main problem is to collect these data from the public, given privacy issues.  Shai is running the WRF model to investigate whether these smartphone data can improve weather forecasts (shaikatz4818@gmail.com).