Document Detail

The cloud-ionosphere discharge: a newly observed thunderstorm phenomenon.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  11038577     Owner:  NLM     Status:  PubMed-not-MEDLINE    
This paper deals with a luminous electric discharge that forms in the mesospheric region between thundercloud tops and the ionosphere at 90-km altitude. These cloud-ionosphere discharges (CIs), following visual reports dating back to the 19th century, were finally imaged by a low-light TV camera as part of the "SKYFLASH" program at the University of Minnesota in 1989. Many observations were made by various groups in the period 1993-1996. The characteristics of CIs are that they have a wide range of sizes from a few kilometers up to 50 km horizontally; they extend from 40 km to nearly 90 km vertically, with an intense region near 60-70 km and streamers extending down toward cloud tops; the CIs are partly or entirely composed of vertical luminous filaments of kilometer size. The predominate color is red. The TV images show that the CIs usually have a duration less than one TV field (16.7 ms), but higher-speed photometric measurements show that they last about 3 ms, and are delayed 3 ms after an initiating cloud-ground lightning stroke; 95% of these initiating strokes are found to be "positive"-i.e., carry positive charges from clouds to ground. The preference for positive initiating strokes is not understood. Theories of the formation of CIs are briefly reviewed.
J R Winckler
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Publication Detail:
Type:  Journal Article    
Journal Detail:
Title:  Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America     Volume:  94     ISSN:  0027-8424     ISO Abbreviation:  Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A.     Publication Date:  1997 Sep 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2007-03-23     Completed Date:  2008-04-17     Revised Date:  2013-04-17    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  7505876     Medline TA:  Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A     Country:  United States    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  10512-9     Citation Subset:  -    
School of Physics and Astronomy, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN 55455, USA.
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