Mechanisms of sprite initiation, morphology, and lightning polarity asymmetry

Jianqi Qin, Sebastien Celestin, Victor P. Pasko, Steven A. Cummer, Matthew G. McHarg, Hans C. Stenbaek-Nielsen

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

    Abstract

    Sprites are spectacular optical emissions in the mesosphere induced by transient lightning electric fields above thunderstorms. Recently, significant efforts have been devoted to the understanding of the inception mechanism of sprite streamers, the origin of different sprite morphologies, and the lightning polarity asymmetry in producing sprites. In this paper, we present a combination of observational and modeling results explaining the physical parameters and processes that are important for the resolution of these outstanding issues. We first emphasize the presence of plasma inhomogeneities in the lower ionosphere as a necessary condition for the initiation of sprite streamers. Then we explain the relation between sprite morphology and the characteristics of the causative lightning discharges using plasma fluid modeling results in comparison with optical and radio observations. Finally, we discuss the critical factors that account for the lightning polarity asymmetry in producing sprites.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Title of host publication2014 31th URSI General Assembly and Scientific Symposium, URSI GASS 2014
    PublisherInstitute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Inc.
    ISBN (Electronic)9781467352253
    DOIs
    StatePublished - Oct 17 2014
    Event31st General Assembly and Scientific Symposium of the International Union of Radio Science, URSI GASS 2014 - Beijing, China
    Duration: Aug 16 2014Aug 23 2014

    Publication series

    Name2014 31th URSI General Assembly and Scientific Symposium, URSI GASS 2014

    Other

    Other31st General Assembly and Scientific Symposium of the International Union of Radio Science, URSI GASS 2014
    CountryChina
    CityBeijing
    Period8/16/148/23/14

    All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

    • Electrical and Electronic Engineering
    • Computer Networks and Communications

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