Formation of single and double-headed streamers in sprite-halo events

Jianqi Qin, Sebastien Celestin, Victor P. Pasko

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    31 Scopus citations

    Abstract

    Sprite streamers initiate from electron inhomogeneities in the lower ionosphere and undergo significant acceleration and expansion growth before their optical emissions become observable. It is shown that electron inhomogeneities located at high altitudes in the region of sprite halo, which may be sub-visual, only transform into single-headed downward streamers, and corresponding upward streamers quickly merge into the sprite halo due to fast relaxation of lightning-induced electric field. In contrast, the inhomogeneities located at and below the lower edge of the sprite halo, where a high field region persists significantly longer, can transform into double-headed streamers. The upward negative streamer heads start from the existing bright structures in the channel of previous downward streamers as observed by Cummer et al. (2006), McHarg et al. (2007), and Stenbaek-Nielsen and McHarg (2008) because at low altitudes, electron density enhancements associated with these channels are much stronger than in preexisting inhomogeneities in the ambient ionosphere.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Article numberL05810
    JournalGeophysical Research Letters
    Volume39
    Issue number5
    DOIs
    StatePublished - Mar 1 2012

    All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

    • Geophysics
    • Earth and Planetary Sciences(all)

    Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Formation of single and double-headed streamers in sprite-halo events'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this