Sprites as luminous columns of ionization produced by quasi-electrostatic thundercloud fields

Victor P. Pasko, U. S. Inan, T. F. Bell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

76 Scopus citations

Abstract

Quasi-electrostatic (QE) fields which exist above thunderclouds after lightning discharges can lead to the formation of columnar channels of breakdown ionization and carrot-like vertical luminous structures with typical transverse dimension ∼5-10 km spaning an altitude range from ∼80 km to well below ∼50 km. The carrot-like forms closely resemble those observed in sprites. Results indicate that the appearance of optical emissions can be significantly delayed in time (∼1-20 ms) with respect to the causative lightning discharge.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)649-652
Number of pages4
JournalGeophysical Research Letters
Volume23
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 1996

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geophysics
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences(all)

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