Low frequency electromagnetic radiation from sprite streamers
Article first published online: 27 NOV 2012
©2012. American Geophysical Union. All Rights Reserved.
Geophysical Research Letters
Volume 39, Issue 22, 28 November 2012
How to Cite
2012), Low frequency electromagnetic radiation from sprite streamers, Geophys. Res. Lett., 39, L22803, doi:10.1029/2012GL053991., , and (
- Issue published online: 27 NOV 2012
- Article first published online: 27 NOV 2012
- Manuscript Revised: 17 OCT 2012
- Manuscript Accepted: 17 OCT 2012
- Manuscript Received: 23 SEP 2012
- NSF. Grant Number: AGS-0734083
- DARPA NIMBUS. Grant Number: HR0011-101-0059/10-DARPA-1092
- electromagnetic radiation;
 Sprites are mesospheric discharges that carry significant electrical currents and produce electromagnetic radiation observed typically in the extremely low (ELF) to ultra low (ULF) frequency bands. In this letter, we present the first theoretical estimates of the electromagnetic radiation produced by individual sprite streamers using simulation results from a plasma fluid model. It is demonstrated that the spectral content of the radiation produced by sprite streamers is a function of the air density Nand the lightning-induced quasi-static ambient electric fieldE in the regions of space where the sprite streamers are propagating. We demonstrate that the exponential growth of the current in sprite streamers at 75 km would be preferentially associated with electromagnetic radiation in the frequency range from 0 and up to ∼3 kHz, whereas the growth of the streamer current at 40 km could produce radiation with frequencies up to ∼300 kHz, consistently with the scaling of atmospheric air density. We further conjecture that the periodic branching of streamers may lead to a radiation spectrum enhancement in the very low (VLF) to low frequency (LF) range.