Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Avalanches Of Electrons May Give Thundercloud Insights

Date:
June 1, 2009
Source:
American Geophysical Union
Summary:
Understanding thundercloud electrification and lightning initiation is challenging because the ranges of electric potential and spatial extents of electric fields inside thunderclouds are not known. Directly measuring electric fields in thunderclouds is challenging--active regions of storms can cover many cubic kilometers with violent weather conditions, making it difficult to operate balloons and aircraft.

Understanding thundercloud electrification and lightning initiation is challenging because the ranges of electric potential and spatial extents of electric fields inside thunderclouds are not known. Directly measuring electric fields in thunderclouds is challenging—active regions of storms can cover many cubic kilometers with violent weather conditions, making it difficult to operate balloons and aircraft.

Florida Institute of Technology researchers J. R. Dwyer and H. K. Rassoul, along with the University of Florida's M. A. Uman, hypothesize that remote sensing of thundercloud electrostatic fields can be obtained through monitoring runaway electrons, which are produced when the rate of gain of energy by electrons moving through an electric field exceeds the rate of loss of energy from ionizing the air. Such runaway electrons trigger other runaway electrons, resulting in an exponentially growing avalanche of runaway electrons moving through the storm system.

The authors propose that radio frequency emissions produced by these avalanches can be monitored to map the magnitudes and directions of the electrostatic field within specific sections of a thundercloud. These radio frequencies are present only when the storm is bombarded by cosmic ray extensive air showers, allowing scientists quickly to identify particular storms that are favorable to the proposed remote sensing techniques.

Their research appears in a recent issue of the Journal of Geophysical Research-Atmospheres.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by American Geophysical Union. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Dwyer, J. R., M. A. Uman, and H. K. Rassoul. Remote measurements of thundercloud electrostatic fields. Journal of Geophysical Research, 2009; 114 (d9): D09208 DOI: 10.1029/2008JD011386

Cite This Page:

American Geophysical Union. "Avalanches Of Electrons May Give Thundercloud Insights." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 1 June 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/05/090529135304.htm>.
American Geophysical Union. (2009, June 1). Avalanches Of Electrons May Give Thundercloud Insights. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/05/090529135304.htm
American Geophysical Union. "Avalanches Of Electrons May Give Thundercloud Insights." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/05/090529135304.htm (accessed August 20, 2014).

Share This




More Earth & Climate News

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Unsustainable Elephant Poaching Killed 100K In 3 Years

Unsustainable Elephant Poaching Killed 100K In 3 Years

Newsy (Aug. 20, 2014) Poachers have killed 100,000 elephants between 2010 and 2012, as the booming ivory trade takes its toll on the animals in Africa. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Charter Schools Alter Post-Katrina Landscape

Charter Schools Alter Post-Katrina Landscape

AP (Aug. 20, 2014) Nine years after Hurricane Katrina, charter schools are the new reality of public education in New Orleans. The state of Louisiana took over most of the city's public schools after the killer storm in 2005. (Aug. 20) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Green Power Blooms as Japan Unveils 'hydrangea Solar Cell'

Green Power Blooms as Japan Unveils 'hydrangea Solar Cell'

AFP (Aug. 19, 2014) A solar cell that resembles a flower is offering a new take on green energy in Japan, where one scientist is searching for renewables that look good. Duration: 01:29 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Disquieting Times for Malaysia's 'fish Listeners'

Disquieting Times for Malaysia's 'fish Listeners'

AFP (Aug. 19, 2014) Malaysia's last "fish listeners" -- practitioners of a dying local art of listening underwater to locate their quarry -- try to keep the ancient technique alive in the face of industrial trawling and the depletion of stocks. Duration: 02:29 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins