What is it about?

In this paper, a new model of relativistic electrons acceleration within thunderstorm media is proposed. In this model, the dynamics of particles resemble a chain reaction. Under certain parameters, it results in the dramatic growth of the number of energetic particles within a thunderstorm, which can cause a Terrestrial Gamma-ray Flash. A methodology to study relativistic electrons dynamics in complex thunderstorm media is proposed. An analytical and computation model of particle dynamics is developed. Necessary conditions for Terrestrial Gamma-ray Flashes occurrence within thunderstorms is derived. The properties of the model which can help to distinguish it from other existing models are discussed.

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Why is it important?

This paper is a new step in the understanding of high-energy atmospheric physics. It is shown that the complexity of thunderstorm electric structure can boost relativistic particles production, which can result in interesting natural phenomena. The model proposed in this paper can deepen the understanding of TGF physics. There is also a prospect of approaching the understanding of the problem of the Initiation of Lightning via runaway breakdown.

Perspectives

This paper is the foundation for building models of relativistic runaway electron avalanches dynamics within complex thunderstorm media. The concepts proposed in this paper are very important in the understanding of high-energy atmospheric physics processes. The discovered reactor feedback can play an important role in thunderstorm physics.

Egor Stadnichuk
Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology

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This page is a summary of: Relativistic Runaway Electron Avalanches Within Complex Thunderstorm Electric Field Structures, Journal of Geophysical Research Atmospheres, December 2021, American Geophysical Union (AGU), DOI: 10.1029/2021jd035278.
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