Electron acceleration above thunderclouds

Abstract : 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.
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Martin Füllekrug, Ivana Kolmasova, Ondrej Santolik, Thomas Farges, József Bór, et al.. Electron acceleration above thunderclouds. Environmental Research Letters, IOP Publishing, 2013, 8 (3), pp.035027. ⟨10.1088/1748-9326/8/3/035027⟩. ⟨insu-01288052⟩

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