China’s big jet – not the passenger kind

From the Science China Press

Is there gigantic jet event in middle latitude region in mainland China?

Caption: This images shows: (a) Observed gigantic jet in this paper; (b) Gigantic jet producing storm A and five sprite producing storm B. The two yellow lines represent the range of the line-of-sight extending from the observation site, that is, the camera field of view (FOV). The pink line is the gigantic jet azimuth in the camera FOV. Credit: Science China Press

When talking about lightning, appearances of different lightning which occur along with thunderstorms will emerge in the minds of the people and these lightning occur in the troposphere. However, in addition to lightning in the troposphere, there are kinds of lightning discharges which occur above the thunderstorms. Up to now, lightning discharges above storms include sprite, elves (Emissions of Light and VLF perturbation due to EMP Sources, elves), Blue jet and Gigantic jet etc, and all of these discharges are totally named as Transient Luminous Events (TLEs). Gigantic jets were observed in America, Taiwan and Europe regions. Gigantic jet is sporadic compared with sprite, elves etc. Is there gigantic jet in middle latitude region in mainland China?

A recent study entitled “A gigantic jet event observed over a thunderstorm in mainland China”, has been published in Chinese Science Bulletin, 2012, Vol 57(36). Detailed analysis of the observed gigantic jet and its associated storm were analyzed by using multiple data sets including low-light level observation, lightning location network, Doppler radar data and infrared weather images. This report was accomplished by the corresponding author Jing Yang,a research associate from Key Laboratory of Middle Atmosphere and Global Environment Observation (LAGEO), Institute of Atmospheric Physics, Chinese Academy of Sciences.

Gigantic jet is a kind of large transient discharge which occurs above thunderstorms. It initiates from the thundercloud top and develops upward to the ionosphere, and connects the thunderstorm and ionosphere directly. Previous studies show that gigantic jet is often observed in tropical or subtropical regions, sometimes over winter thunderstorms. Is there gigantic jet in middle latitude region in mainland China? In addition, previous studies show that gigantic jet and sprites often occurred over the same storm. Is there any special case except this?

A gigantic jet event observed in middle latitude region in mainland China was first reported. The results show that the gigantic jet has tree-like shape, and the gigantic jet producing storm center located at about 35.6°N, 119.8°E. Different from other study that sprites and gigantic jets were produced by the same storm, two different storms produced two types of TLEs, that is, the gigantic jet producing storm produced only one gigantic jet event during its lifetime and five sprites were produced over another storm in this study. Also different from results in other studies that positive CGs dominated during a time period centered at gigantic jet, negative CGs dominated during a time period centered at the gigantic jet event and during most of the time in storm life in this study.

Gigantic jet starts from the thundercloud top and propagates upwards to the ionosphere, and it has a direct influence on the ionosphere potential and the electrical environment in the near space. Studies on this kind of discharge will provide an important protection for the space environment.

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Contact: Yang Jing
E-mail: yangj@mail.iap.ac.cn

See the article: YANG Jing, FENG Guili. A gigantic jet event observed over a thunderstorm in mainland China. Chinese Science Bulletin, 2012, 57(36): 4791-4800.

http://csb.scichina.com:8080/kxtbe/EN/abstract/abstract507387.shtml

Science China Press Co., Ltd. (SCP) is a scientific journal publishing company of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS). For 50 years, SCP takes its mission to present to the world the best achievements by Chinese scientists on various fields of natural sciences researches. http://www.scichina.com/

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17 thoughts on “China’s big jet – not the passenger kind

  1. We have no idea what is really going on the more we search and research the planet pulls
    a surprise for us…

  2. Although I enjoy the climate articles and comments, it is nice to have a change of pace to pure physical science. So much of the warmist argument is tainted by the human sciences of economics and politics, and even the well reasoned rebuttals can wear me out.

  3. There is more going on in a drop of water than one person can fully understand in a lifetime of study. The term “settled science” speaks to the ignorance of its author. The more we look, the more we find that we don’t understand.

  4. It’s a shame we cant build a huge 50+km high lighting rod/electrode and tap this electric potential generated by our planet/atmosphere/sun

  5. Current flow from earth to the ionosphere (and/or vice versa ?). I never did believe that rain drops rubbing together cause lightning. Perhaps we really do live in an electric universe. At any rate, more study is needed.

  6. Does anyone know if these Transient Luminous Events repesent energy moving up, or moving down ?
    ‘Cos I’ve always wondered how they should affect feedbacks in atmospheric models …

  7. ggm says:
    February 11, 2013 at 7:54 am
    It’s a shame we cant build a huge 50+km high lighting rod/electrode and tap this electric potential generated by our planet/atmosphere/sun
    ************************************

    Tesla says hi.

  8. It’s a shame we cant build a huge 50+km high lighting rod/electrode and tap this electric potential generated by our planet/atmosphere/sun

    Big D beat me to it but here is an expanded version.

    Tesla in his Colorado Springs Colorado laboratory discovered what would later be called Schaumann resonances between the Earth and the ionosphere. From his journal for July 4, 1899

    http://www.bibliotecapleyades.net/tesla/coloradonotes/coloradonotes03.htm#Colorado%20Springs%20Notes%20-%20July%201-31,%201899

    Observations made last night. They were such as not to be easily forgotten, for more than one reason. First of all a magnificent sight was afforded by the extraordinary display of lightning, no less than 10—12 thousand discharges being witnessed inside of two hours The flushing was almost continuous and even later in the night when the storm had abated 15—20 discharges per minute were witnessed. Some of the discharges were of a wonderful brilliancy and showed often 10 or twice as many branches.

    They also appeared frequently thicker on the bottom than on top. Can this be so? Perhaps it was only due to the fact that the portion close to the ground was nearer to the observer. The storm began to be perceptible at a distance as it grew dark and continuously increased. An instrument (rotating “coherer”) was connected to ground and a plate above ground, as in my plan of telegraphy, and a condenser was used to magnify the effects transmitted through the ground.

    This method of magnifying secures much better results and will be described in detail in many modifications. I used it in investigating properties of Lenard and Roentgen rays with excellent results. The relay was not adjusted very sensitively but it began to play, nevertheless, when the storm was still at a distance of about 80—100 miles, that is judging the distance from the velocity of sound. As the storm got nearer the adjustment had to be rendered less and less sensitive until the limit of the strength of the spring was reached, but even then it played at every discharge.

    An ordinary bell was connected to earth and elevated terminal and often it also responded. A small spark gap was bridged by a bright spark when the lightning occurred in the neighbourhood. By holding the hands across the gap a shock was felt indicating the strength of the current passing between the ground and the insulated plate. As the storm receded the most interesting and valuable observation was made. It happened this way: the instrument was again adjusted so as to be more sensitive and to respond readily to every discharge which was seen or heard. It did so for a while, when it stopped. It was thought that the lightning was now too far and it may have been about SO miles away.

    All of a sudden the instrument began again to play, continuously increasing in strength, although the storm was moving away rapidly. After some time, the indications again ceased but half an hour later the instrument began to record again. When it once more ceased the adjustment was rendered more delicate, in fact very considerably so, still the instrument failed to respond, but half an hour or so it again began to play and now the spring was tightened on the relay very much and still it indicated the discharges.

    By this time the storm had moved away far out of sight. By readjusting the instrument and setting it again so as to be very sensitive, after some time it again began to play periodically. The storm was now at a distance greater than 200 miles at least. Later in the evening repeatedly the instrument played and ceased, to play in intervals nearly of half an hour although most of the horizon was clear by that time.

    This was a wonderful and most interesting experience from the scientific point of view. It showed clearly the existence of stationary waves, for how could the observations be otherwise explained? How can these waves be stationary unless reflected and where can they be reflected from unless from the point where they started? It would be difficult to believe that they were reflected from the opposite point of the Earth’s surface, though it may be possible. But I rather think they are reflected from the point of the cloud where the conducting path began; in this case the point where the lightning struck the ground would be a nodal point. It is now certain that they can be produced with an oscillator

    Tesla later postulated that the atmosphere is conductive at altitudes greater than about 35,000 feet based upon experiments that he did with reduced atmospheric pressure and electrical conduction in the lab. This provides a current path for the vertical lightning going upward. The reason that lightning exists on the Earth is that the current path between the Earth and clouds breaches the dielectric strength of the atmosphere at lower altitudes and with the ionization of the atmosphere an electrical conduit is formed. Could this conduit be formed from the ground all the way to the ionosphere?

    If you then think about the Carrington event of 1859 or even the much weaker one of 1989 you now have a physical mechanism for solar electrical currents to directly “short” to the Earth. The Gamma Ray Observatory BATSE (Bursts and Transient Source Experiment) (http://www.batse.msfc.nasa.gov/batse/) found that the vertical electrical discharges from the atmosphere to space were strong enough to generate low energy gamma radiation!

    There is far more going on in solar/terrestrial physics than is encompassed in merely looking at visible light and IR radiation.

  9. > Mark and two Cats says:
    > February 11, 2013 at 9:16 am
    > [snip – sorry, not going there – Anthony
    ——————————–
    Was just kidding :)
    -Mark

  10. Paddle N. Fish says February 11, 2013 at 8:14 am

    Current flow from earth to the ionosphere (and/or vice versa ?). I never did believe that rain drops rubbing together cause lightning.

    Try the involvement of ice (literaly: ice particles).

    Do not doubt the Triboelectric effect (or ‘series’)!

    .http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fph08eKTVZM

    .

  11. denniswingo says February 11, 2013 at 11:08 am

    The reason that lightning exists on the Earth is that the current path between the Earth and clouds breaches the dielectric strength of the atmosphere at lower altitudes and with the ionization of the atmosphere an electrical conduit is formed.

    Uman might disagree with this on specifics … you ever try an electrometer pointing upward on a clear day vs a day with a cumulonimbus is near to overhead?

    .

  12. It was funny when you wrote China’s big jet not passenger- I thought you were talking about their enormous military transport jet which is yet confirmed that it exists.

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