A two-dimensional model of runaway electron beams driven by quasi-electrostatic thundercloud fields

N. G. Lehtinen, T. F. Bell, V. P. Pasko, U. S. Inan

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Abstract

Intense, transient quasi-electrostatic (QE) fields, which exist above thunderclouds following a positive cloudto-ground lightning discharge, can produce an upward travelling runaway electron (REL) beam. A new two-dimensional (2D) REL-QE model is developed, expanding the previously reported ID model [Bell et al., 1995] and incorporating the QE [Pasko et al., 1997a] and the recently developed electrostatic heating (ESH) [Pasko et al., 1997b] models. The new model gives the lateral electron distribution in the beam and allows us to determine the ionospheric effects and the optical luminosities resulting from the simultaneous action of the QE fields on the ambient electrons and the runaway electrons. The model is self-consistent and includes the changes in space charge and conductivity due to the REL. Optical emissions and γ-ray emissions [Lehtinen et al., 1996a] are calculated and compared to experimental observations of Sprites and terrestrial γ-ray flashes (TGF). It is shown that the structure of the electric field and the optical emissions can be significantly affected by the REL.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number97GL52738
Pages (from-to)2639-2642
Number of pages4
JournalGeophysical Research Letters
Volume24
Issue number21
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 1997

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geophysics
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences(all)

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