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(Referência obtida automaticamente do Web of Science, por meio da informação sobre o financiamento pela FAPESP e o número do processo correspondente, incluída na publicação pelos autores.)

Consequences of the application of the streamer fluid model to the study of the sprite inception mechanism

Texto completo
Autor(es):
da Silva, Caitano Luiz [1] ; Sao Sabbas, Fernanda T. [1]
Número total de Autores: 2
Afiliação do(s) autor(es):
[1] Inst Nacl Pesquisas Espaciais, BR-12227010 Sao Jose Dos Campos, SP - Brazil
Número total de Afiliações: 1
Tipo de documento: Artigo Científico
Fonte: Advances in Space Research; v. 51, n. 10, p. 1902-1915, MAY 15 2013.
Citações Web of Science: 2
Resumo

We present the results of a streamer-fluid model used to investigate the electrodynamical coupling between the troposphere and upper atmosphere due to the penetration of lightning electric fields into the mesosphere and the lower ionosphere, generating sprites. The model solves the continuity equation for electrons and ions coupled to Poisson equation. The dominant physical response of the atmosphere is the formation of a screening-ionization wave. The wave shields the atmosphere above it from the action of the lightning field and, together with the conductivity reduction below it due to attachment, the wave amplifies the total field below it, allowing for the penetration of intense electric fields in the mesosphere as it propagates downwards into regions of higher density that compress the wave. This is the key physical mechanism for sprite inception. We evaluated the effects of the thundercloud charge geometry, lightning current wave-shape, atmospheric conductivity, via different electron density profiles, and the effect of ionization, attachment and electron mobility coefficients in the electrical breakdown process, related to halo production, and sprite streamer initiation. The results showed that electrons with higher mobility are more efficient in shielding the lightning electric field before breakdown, causing delay, and they contribute to the formation of the streamer seed after breakdown, anticipating the sprite streamer inception. Similarly, a higher effective ionization rate, produced by modifications in the attachment and ionization coefficients, anticipates sprite inception. The simulations with 6 different electron density profiles, and therefore conductivities, spanning 4 orders of magnitude, showed that the altitude of breakdown and sprite initiation, as well as their time delays from the lightning discharge are directly related to atmospheric conductivity: higher conductivities produce halo and sprite inception at lower altitudes with longer delays and may hinder sprite formation. We document that variations of 30 times in the lightning current leads to sprite initiation altitudes in the range 66.0-73.5 km, with delays between 1.550 and 34.500 ms, while variations of 4 orders of magnitude in the conductivity profile lead to initiation altitudes 61.0-70.6 km, with delays in the range 3.825-9.825 ms. Consequently, we suggest that lightning characteristics dominate over atmospheric parameters in determining sprites' initiation altitude and delay. The simulation of a -CG, with a constant current of 30 kA, did not produce a sprite seed, confirming an asymmetry in the response of the atmosphere to positive and negative lightning. This is due to the free electron drift direction that is away from the screening ionization wave, preventing the formation of the streamer seed for the great majority of -CGs. The same does not apply to halos, which depend on the occurrence of breakdown and can be produced by discharges of both polarities. (C) 2012 COSPAR. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved. (AU)

Processo FAPESP: 04/12350-7 - Deposição de energia eletromagnética na atmosfera superior sinalizada por sprites e outros efeitos luminosos transientes - deeluminos
Beneficiário:Eliah Fernanda de Maria de São Sabbas Tavares
Linha de fomento: Auxílio à Pesquisa - Apoio a Jovens Pesquisadores