Initiation of Streamers Due to Hydrometeor Collisions in Thunderclouds

Qiheng Cai, Jaroslav Jánský, Victor P. Pasko

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

In order to initiate streamers and leaders under thunderstorm conditions the electric field should reach values higher than the critical breakdown field Ek (i.e., ∼30 kV·cm−1·atm−1). However, the maximum electric field in thunderstorms measured by balloons is ∼6–9 kV·cm−1·atm−1. In present work, to achieve the electric field amplification required for streamer initiation, a system of two approaching spherical hydrometeors is investigated. Streamer initiation is determined from a Meek number, describing electron multiplication in fields above Ek. We have found the relationships between radii of particles for successful streamer initiation in the gap between these two particles and also on the outside periphery of the two particle system when the particles are connected by a discharge channel. Furthermore, we estimated the frequency of streamer initiation using three realistic hydrometeor size model distributions available in the literature and found that the scenario of streamer initiation on the outside periphery is only possible for relatively high electric fields ≥0.5Ek at altitudes of 3 and 6 km.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)7050-7064
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres
Volume123
Issue number14
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 27 2018

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hydrometeors
thundercloud
electric field
collision
Electric fields
Thunderstorms
collisions
thunderstorm
thunderstorms
electric fields
Balloons
Amplification
balloons
amplification
multiplication
electrons
electron
breakdown
particle
Electrons

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geophysics
  • Forestry
  • Oceanography
  • Aquatic Science
  • Ecology
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Soil Science
  • Geochemistry and Petrology
  • Earth-Surface Processes
  • Atmospheric Science
  • Space and Planetary Science
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Palaeontology

Cite this

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title = "Initiation of Streamers Due to Hydrometeor Collisions in Thunderclouds",
abstract = "In order to initiate streamers and leaders under thunderstorm conditions the electric field should reach values higher than the critical breakdown field Ek (i.e., ∼30 kV·cm−1·atm−1). However, the maximum electric field in thunderstorms measured by balloons is ∼6–9 kV·cm−1·atm−1. In present work, to achieve the electric field amplification required for streamer initiation, a system of two approaching spherical hydrometeors is investigated. Streamer initiation is determined from a Meek number, describing electron multiplication in fields above Ek. We have found the relationships between radii of particles for successful streamer initiation in the gap between these two particles and also on the outside periphery of the two particle system when the particles are connected by a discharge channel. Furthermore, we estimated the frequency of streamer initiation using three realistic hydrometeor size model distributions available in the literature and found that the scenario of streamer initiation on the outside periphery is only possible for relatively high electric fields ≥0.5Ek at altitudes of 3 and 6 km.",
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Initiation of Streamers Due to Hydrometeor Collisions in Thunderclouds. / Cai, Qiheng; Jánský, Jaroslav; Pasko, Victor P.

In: Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres, Vol. 123, No. 14, 27.07.2018, p. 7050-7064.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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