On the upward propagation of gigantic jet leaders

Caitano L. da Silva, Victor P. Pasko

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review


Gigantic Jets (GJs) are initiated deep inside the thundercloud as intracloud discharges whose upward-directed leaders manage to escape through the thundercloud top and propagate up to the ionosphere. The speed at which leaders propagate is limited by the air heating of every newly formed leader section, rate of which is slower at upper altitudes in the Earth's atmosphere. Despite the expected deceleration of an upward-directed leader, GJs are observed to accelerate as they approach the ionosphere. In this paper, we discuss the dependence of the leader speed on current density in the leader stem and we propose a simple time-dynamic model for GJ propagation that includes the effects of the expansion of the streamer zone adjacent to the leader head. We propose that the GJ acceleration is a consequence of its vertical structuring and, therefore, can be used to trace the transition altitude between the leader and streamer zone sections of GJs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
StatePublished - 2014
Event15th International Conference on Atmospheric Electricity, ICAE 2014 - Norman, United States
Duration: Jun 15 2014Jun 20 2014


Conference15th International Conference on Atmospheric Electricity, ICAE 2014
Country/TerritoryUnited States

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Atmospheric Science
  • Geophysics


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