For decades, scientists have been studying how electrical discharges occur in clouds on the ground during storms. The charge separation that occurs in a storm causes the ionization movement of electronic components. atmosphere In turn, it produces what is commonly known as “powerful discharge”Rays‘. They move between the clouds themselves or between the clouds and the ground.
But there is another type of rare event that can only be seen from space, and they manifest as jet Or a very blue plane The intensity of rising from the clouds to the highest level of the atmosphere is high. They originate from clouds that are 10-15 kilometers high and rise from above the clouds and ascend through the atmosphere.
right now Researchers from Denmark, Norway and Spain One of the blue lights was discovered and fully characterized for the first time, and its location, duration, evolution and speed were determined based on its origin in the upper layers of the clouds.
In addition, they also established a relationship To microsecondsBetween the evolution of the parent ray and its light rising in the stratosphere.The results of these features have never been achieved, this is the focus of this week magazine cover natural.
Observed using this instrument in February 2019 Atmospheric Interaction Monitor (ASIM) Installed on the International Space Station. Five very violent eruptions were recorded nearby. Pacific Nauru In the center, in the two cameras and ASIM’s three photometers.
The “Atmospheric Interaction Monitor” (ASIM) instrument on the Columbus module of the International Space Station. /NASA
The co-author explained: “These are plasma bursts that originate at a distance of 16 kilometers from the clouds and spread to the highest area of the stratosphere within a few microseconds.” Victor Reglero, Professor of Astronomy and Astrophysics at the Image Processing Laboratory (IPL) of the University of Valencia.
One third of the eruptions provided the most unique results.The duration is 20 microseconds. In the so-called blue photometer (337 nm), the signal intensity is one hundred times stronger than usual, while in the red photometer (777 nm), there is no signal. Scientists deduced that the image is a cone. With the development of emissions, its openness increases Duration 196 microseconds And rise into the atmosphere until it reaches 56 kilometers high.
At the same time, the author analyzed the rays in the area using ground data and established the relationship between the burst of rays and the strong blue emission detected by the photometer.
Reglero emphasized: “This is the first time we have associated the parent ray with the main blue emission and propagated to the highest part of the atmosphere.” He added: “Now, we already have rays propagating from the clouds to the ground., And vice versa, or between the clouds, there is blue light rising from the clouds to the higher layers of the atmosphere: this is novel.”
Atmospheric heating and electrical circuits
Researchers believe that their findings have an impact on the warming of the upper part of the earth’s atmosphere and the warming of the earth’s atmosphere. Global Circuit (CEG).
According to the basic model, the earth’s atmosphere (from the cloud at 10 km to the ionosphere at 100 km) is a basic circuit in which free electrons from the cloud rise to the ionosphere and then slowly descend to the surface of the ionosphere. Earth.
The researchers commented: “However, this idyllic scene is disturbed by very strong and violent discharges, and now we include the blue light in it. This means that the global circuit is not as continuous as we thought, because it has discharge peaks. Affect the number of electrons moving in it. The next challenge is to evaluate the frequency of blue light and its contribution to the total charge moving in the CEG.”
Last year, the same European team that just appeared on the cover of January natural, Received the same recognition in the first issue of the magazine in 2020 science And another book about the phenomenon of violent atmosphere.
Explosions occur in the “zoo” in the upper atmosphere, such as blue rays or jets (blue jets) and “spirits”. / UV etc.
Torsten Neubert, Olivier Chanrion, Matthias Heumesser, Krystallia Dimitriadou, Lasse Husbjerg, Ib Lundgaard Rasmussen, Nikolai Østgaard and Victor Reglero. “Observe the process of the blue jet entering the stratosphere“ Nature Volume 589, pages 371–375 (2021).