Physics Department Seminar University of Alaska Fairbanks

J O U R N A L    C L U B


Overview of Effects of Thunderstorms on the Middle and Upper Atmosphere
Prof. Davis Sentman
Prof. Emeritus, Dept of Physics and GI, UAF




Thunderstorms and lightning have been found to produce air breakdown at high altitudes, extending all the way from cloud tops to the ionosphere at altitudes of ~100 km. They are new (since 1989) elements in the global electric circuit, and go by the fanciful names red sprites, blue jets, elves, pixies and haloes. Lightning has also been discovered to produce x- and gamma-rays, positrons and neutrons, suggesting both relativistic processes and nuclear reactions are occurring in lightning discharges. These latter are completely outside the realm of traditional plasma descriptions of lightning and laboratory discharges and are prompting new types of experiments to study them.


Friday, 2 Sept. 2011

Globe Room, Elvey Building

3:45 PM