Atmospheric Sciences Editors' Highlights

Streamer Corona Discharges in Thunderstorms Detected from Space

Concurrent detection from space and the ground of blue optical flashes from streamer corona discharges at altitudes between 8.5 and 14 kilometers and radio waves.

Source: Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres


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The Atmosphere-Space Interactions Monitor (ASIM) on the International Space Station confirms for the first time that blue flashes at the 337 nm wavelength are associated with the very impulsive type of intracloud electrical discharge of the Narrow Bipolar Events, which are observed from both space and the ground. These blue flashes can occur continuously in the vicinity of ordinary lightning strokes therefore they can create a critical source of key greenhouse gases such as ozone (O3) and nitrous oxide (N2O) in convectively active areas. Soler et al. [2020] open the door for future studies to determine the global frequency rate and geographical distribution of in-cloud corona discharges, which is necessary to assess their role in the atmospheric greenhouse chemistry.

Citation: Soler, S., Pérez‐Invernón, F. J., Gordillo‐Vázquez, F. J., Luque, A., D., Li, Malagón‐Romero, A., et al. [2020]. Blue optical observations of narrow bipolar events by ASIM suggest corona streamer activity in thunderstorms. Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres, 125, e2020JD032708. https://doi.org/10.1029/2020JD032708

—Minghua Zhang, Editor in Chief, JGR: Atmospheres

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