Discharges in the Stratosphere and Mesosphere
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- Siingh, D., Singh, R.P., Singh, A.K. et al. Space Sci Rev (2012) 169: 73. doi:10.1007/s11214-012-9906-0
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In the present paper salient features of discharges in the stratosphere and mesosphere (namely sprites, halos, blue starters, blue jets, gigantic jets and elves), are discussed. The electrostatic field due to charge imbalance during lightning processes may lead to stratospheric/mesospheric discharges either through the conventional breakdown based on streamers and leaders or relativistic runaway mechanism. Most (not all) of the observed features of sprites, halos and jets are explained by this processes. Development and evolution of streamers are based on the local transient electrostatic field and available ambient electron density which dictate better probability in favor of positive cloud-to-ground discharges, and thus explains the polarity asymmetry in triggering sprites and streamers. Elves are generated by electromagnetic pulse radiated by return stroke currents of cloud-to-ground/inter-cloud discharges. Generation of the both donut and pancake shape elves are explained. Electrodynamic features of thunderstorms associated with stratospheric/mesospheric discharges are summarized including current and charge moment associated with relevant cloud-to-ground discharges. The hypothesis relating tropospheric generated gravity waves and mesospheric discharges are also discussed. Finally some interesting problems are listed.