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Lightning superbolts are the most powerful and rare lightning events with intense optical emission, first identified from space. Superbolt events occurred in 2010-2018 could be localized by extracting the high energy tail of the lightning stroke signals measured by the very low frequency ground stations of the World-Wide Lightning Location Network. Here, we report electromagnetic observations of superbolts from space using Van Allen Probes satellite measurements, and ground measurements, and with two events measured both from ground and space. From burst-triggered measurements, we compute electric and magnetic power spectral density for very low frequency waves driven by superbolts, both on Earth and transmitted into space, demonstrating that superbolts transmit 10-1000 times more powerful very low frequency waves into space than typical strokes and revealing that their extreme nature is observed in space. We find several properties of superbolts that notably differ from most lightning flashes; a more symmetric first ground-wave peak due to a longer rise time, larger peak current, weaker decay of electromagnetic power density in space with distance, and a power mostly confined in the very low frequency range. Their signal is absent in space during day times and is received with a long-time delay on the Van Allen Probes. These results have implications for our understanding of lightning and superbolts, for ionosphere-magnetosphere wave transmission, wave propagation in space, and remote sensing of extreme events.
Published by: Nature Communications Published on: 06/2021
YEAR: 2021   DOI: https://doi.org/10.1038/s41467-021-23740-6
Abstract We provide a statistical analysis of both electric and magnetic field wave amplitudes of very low frequency lightning-generated waves (LGWs) based on the equivalent of 11.5 years of observations made by the Van Allen Probes encompassing ~24.6 × 106 survey mode measurements. We complement this analysis with data from the ground-based World Wide Lightning Location Network to explore differences between satellite and ground-based measurements. LGW mean amplitudes are found to be low compared with other whistler mode waves (1 ± 1.6 pT and 19 ± 59 μV/m). Extreme events (1/5,000) can reach 100 pT and contributes strongly to the mean power below L = 2. We find excellent correlations between World Wide Lightning Location Network-based power and wave amplitudes in space at various longitudes. We reveal strong dayside ionospheric damping of the LGW electric field. LGW amplitudes drop for L < 2, contrary to the Earth s intense equatorial lightning activity. We conclude that it is difficult for equatorial LGW to propagate and remain at L < 2.
Published by: Geophysical Research Letters Published on: 03/2020
YEAR: 2020   DOI: 10.1029/2020GL087503
We propose a new method that uses the World-Wide Lightning Location Network (WWLLN) to estimate both the local and the drift lightning power density at the Van Allen Probes footprints during 4.3 years (~2 \texttimes 108 strokes.). The ratio of the drift power density to the local power density defines a time-resolved WWLLN-based model of lightning-generated wave (LGW) power density ratio, RWWLLN. RWWLLNis computed every ~34 s. This ratio multiplied by the time-resolved LGW intensity measured by the Probes allows direct computation of pitch angle diffusion coefficients used in radiation belt codes. Statistical analysis shows the median power density ratio is urn:x-wiley:00948276:media:grl58808:grl58808-math-0001 over the Americas. Elsewhere, urn:x-wiley:00948276:media:grl58808:grl58808-math-0002 in general. Over oceans, urn:x-wiley:00948276:media:grl58808:grl58808-math-0003 is larger than ~10. urn:x-wiley:00948276:media:grl58808:grl58808-math-1003 varies with season, urn:x-wiley:00948276:media:grl58808:grl58808-math-0083 ~ 2.5 from winter to summer. The yearly-median urn:x-wiley:00948276:media:grl58808:grl58808-math-0004 decays as urn:x-wiley:00948276:media:grl58808:grl58808-math-0005. The strong geographical and temporal variation should be kept in assessing effects in space. RWWLLN > 1 suggests significant LGW effects in the inner belt.
Published by: Geophysical Research Letters Published on: 03/2019
YEAR: 2019   DOI: 10.1029/2018GL081146