Atmospheric Electricity

A special issue of Atmosphere (ISSN 2073-4433). This special issue belongs to the section "Meteorology".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 June 2021) | Viewed by 21861

Special Issue Editors


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Guest Editor
Global Center for Asian and Regional Research, University of Shizuoka, Shizuoka 420-0839, Japan
Interests: atmospheric electricity; space physics; global electrical circuit; geoelectricity
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

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Guest Editor
School of Sustainability, Reichman University (IDC Herzliya), 8 University Street, Herzliya 4610101, Israel
Interests: atmospheric electricity; lightning (on Earth and other planets); space weather; solar–terrestrial relations and transient luminous events (sprites); dust storm electrification; cloud microphysics
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Although atmospheric electricity has a long history of research, epoch-making discoveries have been made in each period. In recent decades, lightning/thunderstorm-induced energetic radiation, transient luminous events such as sprites and elves have been discovered, as well as terrestrial gamma-ray flashes. Recently, challenging research topics such as the relationship between atmospheric electricity and biological/biochemical effects and the relationship between atmospheric electricity and climate/severe-weather have become the focus of new and groundbreaking research. Orbiting satellites and lightning detection systems are producing new data and numerical modelling, including artificial intelligence applications, are yielding new and exciting insights into the nature of thunderstorms. Therefore, we are planning a Special Issue dedicated to the contributions covering all areas related to atmospheric electricity.

A Special Issue on atmospheric electricity is, therefore, open to the multi-disciplinary and various studies from a conventional research field such as global electric circuit, lightning physics, aerosol and cloud microphysics, and thunderstorm electrification, to a modern research field such as lightning/thunderstorm-generated energetic radiation, transient luminous events, and the evolution of the Earth’s climate.

We welcome contributions of various article types such as original research and reviews.

text

The image was taken by Oscar Van der-Velde.

Prof. Dr. Masashi Kamogawa
Prof. Dr. Yoav Yair
Guest Editors

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Keywords

  • atmospheric electric field
  • schumann resonances
  • global electric circuit
  • lightning physics
  • tweek
  • whistler propagation
  • sferics
  • transient luminous events
  • energetic radiation from lightning
  • aerosol and cloud microphysics
  • thunderstorm electrification
  • particle precipitation and cosmic rays
  • magnetosphere–ionosphere–atmosphere coupling
  • biological and biochemical effects of atmospheric electricity
  • remote sensing of lightning
  • climate change effects on lightning

Published Papers (8 papers)

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Research

9 pages, 2175 KiB  
Article
Electric Field Variations Caused by Low, Middle and High-Altitude Clouds over the Negev Desert, Israel
by Roy Yaniv and Yoav Yair
Atmosphere 2022, 13(8), 1331; https://doi.org/10.3390/atmos13081331 - 21 Aug 2022
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1388
Abstract
Ground-based measurements of the electric field from a station located in the arid Negev region of southern Israel have been conducted continuously since 2013. We present here results of observations of the electric field (Potential Gradient, PG) variability during 22 cloudy days, with [...] Read more.
Ground-based measurements of the electric field from a station located in the arid Negev region of southern Israel have been conducted continuously since 2013. We present here results of observations of the electric field (Potential Gradient, PG) variability during 22 cloudy days, with varying cloud types and cloud base heights, and compare the measured values with the mean fair-weather PG. The results show an increase of PG (~+10 to +70 V m−1) from mean fair weather values during times of low clouds. During times of mid-altitude (alto) clouds or during a superposition of low and high clouds, there were small departures in the PG values (~0 to −30 V m−1) compared to mean fair weather PG values. During times of high-altitude cirrus clouds there is a clear decrease of the PG (~−40 to −90 V m−1). The data was compared with the Israeli meteorological service cloud data and with MODIS 7 satellite cloud top height maps. In addition, AERONET aerosol optical depth values and wind speed magnitude from a local meteorological station were analyzed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Atmospheric Electricity)
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10 pages, 1662 KiB  
Article
Transport of Water Vapor from Tropical Cyclones to the Upper Troposphere
by Tair Plotnik, Colin Price, Joydeb Saha and Anirban Guha
Atmosphere 2021, 12(11), 1506; https://doi.org/10.3390/atmos12111506 - 16 Nov 2021
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 2014
Abstract
This paper investigates the influence of tropical cyclones on water vapor concentrations in the upper atmosphere above these storms. We use independent data sets of tropical storm intensity, water vapor and lightning activity to investigate this relationship. Water vapor in the upper troposphere [...] Read more.
This paper investigates the influence of tropical cyclones on water vapor concentrations in the upper atmosphere above these storms. We use independent data sets of tropical storm intensity, water vapor and lightning activity to investigate this relationship. Water vapor in the upper troposphere is a key greenhouse gas, with direct impacts on surface temperatures. Both the amount and altitude of water vapor impact the radiative balance and the greenhouse effect of the atmosphere. The water vapor enters the upper troposphere through deep convective storms, often associated with lightning activity. The intensity of the lightning activity represents the intensity of the convection in these storms, and hence the amount of water vapor transported aloft. In this paper, we investigate the role of tropical cyclones on the contribution of water vapor to the upper atmosphere moistening. Tropical cyclones are the largest most intense storms on Earth and can last for up to two weeks at a time. There is also evidence that the intensity of tropical cyclones is increasing, and will continue to increase, due to global warming. In this study we find that the maximum moistening of the upper atmosphere occurs at the 200 hPa level (~12 km altitude), with a lag of 1–2 days after the maximum sustained winds in the tropical cyclone. While the water vapor peaks after the maximum of the storm intensity, the lightning activity peaks before the maximum intensity of the storms, as shown previously. We show here that the absolute amount of water vapor in the upper troposphere above tropical storms increases linearly with the intensity of the storms. For every 10 hPa decrease in the minimum pressure of tropical storms, the specific humidity increases around 0.2 g/kg at the 200 hPa level. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Atmospheric Electricity)
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19 pages, 7999 KiB  
Article
Infrasound Thunder Detections across 15 Years over Ivory Coast: Localization, Propagation, and Link with the Stratospheric Semi-Annual Oscillation
by Thomas Farges, Patrick Hupe, Alexis Le Pichon, Lars Ceranna, Constantino Listowski and Adama Diawara
Atmosphere 2021, 12(9), 1188; https://doi.org/10.3390/atmos12091188 - 14 Sep 2021
Cited by 9 | Viewed by 2432
Abstract
Every day, about one thousand thunderstorms occur around the world, producing about 45 lightning flashes per second. One prominent infrasound station of the International Monitoring System infrasound network of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization for studying lightning activity is in Ivory Coast, where [...] Read more.
Every day, about one thousand thunderstorms occur around the world, producing about 45 lightning flashes per second. One prominent infrasound station of the International Monitoring System infrasound network of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization for studying lightning activity is in Ivory Coast, where the lightning rate of this region is relatively high. Infrasound defines acoustic waves with frequencies below 20 Hz, the lower limit of human hearing. Statistical results are presented in this paper based on infrasound measurements from 2004 to 2019. One-to-one association between infrasound detections from 0.5 to 5 Hz and lightning flashes detected by the World Wide Lightning Location Network within 500 km from the infrasound station is systematically investigated. Most of the infrasound signals detected at IS17 in this frequency band are due to thunder, even if the thunderstorms are located up to 500 km away from the station. A decay of the thunder amplitude with the flash distance, d, is found to scale as d−0.717 for flashes within 100 km from the station, which holds for direct propagation. Interestingly, the stratospheric detections reflect a pattern in the annual azimuth variation, which is consistent with the equatorial stratospheric semi-annual oscillation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Atmospheric Electricity)
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17 pages, 4446 KiB  
Article
On the Problem of Critical Electric Field of Atmospheric Air
by Artem Syssoev, Dmitry Iudin, Fedor Iudin, Vitaly Klimashov and Alexey Emelyanov
Atmosphere 2021, 12(8), 1046; https://doi.org/10.3390/atmos12081046 - 15 Aug 2021
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 2029
Abstract
It is traditionally accepted to define the dielectric strength of air as an electric field corresponding to the balance between the rates of impact ionization and electrons’ attachment to neutrals. Its reduced value is known to be about 110 Td regardless of the [...] Read more.
It is traditionally accepted to define the dielectric strength of air as an electric field corresponding to the balance between the rates of impact ionization and electrons’ attachment to neutrals. Its reduced value is known to be about 110 Td regardless of the altitude above the mean sea level. In this study, the altitude profile of the critical electric field of atmospheric air in the 0–40 km altitude range is specified. Unlike the conventional approach, a wide range of additional plasma-chemical processes occurring in atmospheric air, such as electron detachment from negative ions and ion-ion conversion is taken into account. Atmospheric air is considered to be a mixture of N2:O2 = 4:1 containing a small amount of chemically active small gas components, such as water vapor, atomic oxygen, ozone, and several types of nitrogen oxides. It is shown that the dielectric strength of air falls noticeably compared to its conventional value. The results of the study can be important to solve the problems of initiation and propagation of lightning discharges, blue starters, and blue jets. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Atmospheric Electricity)
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15 pages, 9422 KiB  
Article
Resolving Elve, Halo and Sprite Halo Images at 10,000 Fps in the Taiwan 2020 Campaign
by Cheng-Ling Kuo, Tai-Yin Huang, Cheng-Mao Hsu, Mitsuteru Sato, Lou-Chuang Lee and Neng-Huei Lin
Atmosphere 2021, 12(8), 1000; https://doi.org/10.3390/atmos12081000 - 03 Aug 2021
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 3508
Abstract
After almost thirty years’ efforts on studying transient luminous events (TLEs), ground-based observation has confirmed the TLE family, including elves, halos, sprites, and blue jets, etc. The typical elve has the shortest emission time (<1 ms) in comparison with other TLEs. The second [...] Read more.
After almost thirty years’ efforts on studying transient luminous events (TLEs), ground-based observation has confirmed the TLE family, including elves, halos, sprites, and blue jets, etc. The typical elve has the shortest emission time (<1 ms) in comparison with other TLEs. The second shortest is the halo emission. Although elves and halos are supposed to be more frequent than sprites, ground campaigns still have less probability of recording their images due to their fleeting and short emission. Additionally, the submillisecond imaging of elves, halos, and sprite halos helps us resolve their electro-optic dynamics and morphological features, but few have been reported in the literature. Our study presents the 10,000 fps imaging frames on elves, halos and sprite halos, compares their similarity and disparity, and analyzes their parent lightning properties with associated VLF and ELF data. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Atmospheric Electricity)
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13 pages, 4610 KiB  
Article
A Study of the Effects of Rain, Snow and Hail on the Atmospheric Electric Field near Ground
by Athanasios Karagioras and Konstantinos Kourtidis
Atmosphere 2021, 12(8), 996; https://doi.org/10.3390/atmos12080996 - 31 Jul 2021
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 3465
Abstract
The purpose of the present study is to investigate the impact of rain, snow and hail on potential gradient (PG), as observed in a period of ten years in Xanthi, northern Greece. An anticorrelation between PG and rainfall was observed for rain events [...] Read more.
The purpose of the present study is to investigate the impact of rain, snow and hail on potential gradient (PG), as observed in a period of ten years in Xanthi, northern Greece. An anticorrelation between PG and rainfall was observed for rain events that lasted several hours. When the precipitation rate was up to 2 mm/h, the decrease in PG was between 200 and 1300 V/m, in most cases being around 500 V/m. An event with rainfall rates up to 11 mm/h produced the largest drop in PG, of 2 kV/m. Shortly after rain, PG appeared to bounce back to somewhat higher values than the ones of fair-weather conditions. A decrease in mean hourly PG was observed, which was around 2–4 kV/m during the hail events which occurred concurrently with rain and from 0 to 3.5 kV/m for hail events with no rain. In the case of no drop, no concurrent drop in temperature was observed, while, for the other cases, it appeared that, for each degree drop in temperature, the drop in hourly mean PG was 1000 V/m; hence, we assume that the intensity of the hail event regulates the drop in PG. The frequency distribution of 1-minute PG exhibits a complex structure during hail events and extend from −18 to 11 kV/m, with most of the values in the negative range. During snow events, 1-minute PG exhibited rapid fluctuations between high positive and high negative values, its frequency distribution extending from −10 to 18 kV/m, with peaks at −10 and 3 kV/m. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Atmospheric Electricity)
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17 pages, 6609 KiB  
Article
Comprehensive Analysis of a Coast Thunderstorm That Produced a Sprite over the Bohai Sea
by Cong Pan, Jing Yang, Kun Liu and Yu Wang
Atmosphere 2021, 12(6), 718; https://doi.org/10.3390/atmos12060718 - 02 Jun 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 2225
Abstract
Sprites are transient luminous events (TLEs) that occur over thunderstorm clouds that represent the direct coupling relationship between the troposphere and the upper atmosphere. We report the evolution of a mesoscale convective system (MCS) that produced only one sprite event, and the characteristics [...] Read more.
Sprites are transient luminous events (TLEs) that occur over thunderstorm clouds that represent the direct coupling relationship between the troposphere and the upper atmosphere. We report the evolution of a mesoscale convective system (MCS) that produced only one sprite event, and the characteristics of this thunderstorm and the related lightning activity are analyzed in detail. The results show that the parent flash of the sprite was positive cloud-to-ground lightning (+CG) with a single return stroke, which was located in the trailing stratiform region of the MCS with a radar reflectivity of 25 to 35 dBZ. The absolute value of the negative CG (−CG) peak current for half an hour before and after the occurrence of the sprite was less than 50 kA, which was not enough to produce the sprite. Sprites tend to be produced early in the maturity-to-dissipation stage of the MCS, with an increasing percentage of +CG to total CG (POP), indicating that the sprite production was the attenuation of the thunderstorm and the area of the stratiform region. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Atmospheric Electricity)
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17 pages, 5719 KiB  
Article
The Modulation Effect on the ELVEs and Sprite Halos by Concentric Gravity Waves Based on the Electromagnetic Pulse Coupled Model
by Chao Wang, Ying Wen, Jinbo Zhang, Qilin Zhang and Juwei Qiu
Atmosphere 2021, 12(5), 617; https://doi.org/10.3390/atmos12050617 - 11 May 2021
Viewed by 1868
Abstract
By employing the finite-difference time-domain method, the processes of electric field variation and morphological development of the optical radiation field of ELVEs and sprite halos were simulated in this article. Simulations of ELVEs show two optical radiation field centers, with a concentrated luminous [...] Read more.
By employing the finite-difference time-domain method, the processes of electric field variation and morphological development of the optical radiation field of ELVEs and sprite halos were simulated in this article. Simulations of ELVEs show two optical radiation field centers, with a concentrated luminous zone from 85 to 100 km and an inner weaker optical radiation center. The electric field exhibits an obvious sparse and dense ripple pattern induced by the concentric gravity waves (CGWs) at altitudes of 90–100 km, which mainly occurs during the decline period of electric field with a shallow steepness. The alternating distance of the variations in the sparse and dense patterns is about 40 km, which corresponds to the horizontal wavelength of the electric field. The CGWs induce significant deformation of the inner optical radiation field, even splitting into multiple luminous regions. Simulations of sprite halos indicate that the horizontal range of the electrical field generated by lightning current is within 50 km, and a strong local electric field formed in the region right above the lightning channel is due to the small-scale breakdown current. Thus, the increased electron density shields the upper regions and reduces the electrical field’s strength. The sprite halos luminous zone is pancake-shaped, and it originates at 85 km along with a downward developing trend. The disturbance of sprite halos’ luminescence caused by CGWs mainly occurs at about 80–100 km directly above the lightning channel, and the primary deformation zone is located within 30 km of the lightning channel, which is also the region with the most recognizable electric field disturbance. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Atmospheric Electricity)
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