Electron acceleration above thunderclouds

M Fullekrug, I Kolmasova, O Santolik, T Farges, J Bor, A J Bennett, M Parrot, M Rison, F Zanotti, E Arnone, A Mezentsev, R Lan , L Uhlir, Giles Harrison , S Soula, O A van der Velde, J-L Pincon , C. Helling, D. Diver

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The acceleration of electrons results in observable electromagnetic waves which can be used for remote sensing. Here, we make use of ∼4 Hz-66 MHz radio waves emitted by two consecutive intense positive lightning discharges to investigate their impact on the atmosphere above a thundercloud. It is found that the first positive lightning discharge initiates a sprite where electrons are accelerated during the exponential growth and branching of the sprite streamers. This preconditioned plasma above the thundercloud is subsequently exposed to a second positive lightning discharge associated with a bouncing-wave discharge. This discharge process causes a re-brightening of the existing sprite streamers above the thundercloud and initiates a subsequent relativistic electron beam.
Original languageEnglish
Article number035027
JournalEnvironmental Research Letters
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2013


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