Vertical structuring of gigantic jets

Caitano L. Da Silva, Victor P. Pasko

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


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 letter, 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. Key Points Time-dynamic model of Gigantic Jet development Gigantic Jet acceleration as evidence of its vertical structuring Dependence of leader speed on the current density in the leader stem

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3315-3319
Number of pages5
JournalGeophysical Research Letters
Issue number12
StatePublished - Jun 28 2013

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geophysics
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences(all)


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