Dynamics of sprite streamers in varying air density

Jianqi Qin, Victor P. Pasko

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    12 Scopus citations

    Abstract

    Similarity laws for streamer discharges, which state that the properties of streamers such as streamer radius, electric field, and electron density should respectively scale as N-1, N1, and N2 in different but uniform air densities N, are important relations that have provided a general understanding of the mesospheric sprite discharges based on existing knowledge of streamers in laboratory conditions. Recent modeling studies, however, show that the properties of sprite streamers in varying air density do not follow exactly or even contradict the similarity relations. We present here simulation results and related analysis of sprite streamers to provide a unified view and resolve these contradictions. Our results indicate that the properties of streamers in varying air density are determined by the physical dimensions of streamers and the reduced electric field E/N, with the varying air density N being only one of the three factors controlling the streamer properties. Key Points Air density is only one of the three factors affecting streamer dynamics Initial conditions and applied electric field are the other two factors Sprite streamers are smaller at lower altitudes due to branching

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)2031-2036
    Number of pages6
    JournalGeophysical Research Letters
    Volume42
    Issue number6
    DOIs
    StatePublished - Mar 28 2015

    All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

    • Geophysics
    • Earth and Planetary Sciences(all)

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