Runaway breakdown in the Jovian atmospheres

J. R. Dwyer, L. M. Coleman, R. Lopez, Z. Saleh, D. Concha, Michael G Brown, H. K. Rassoul

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

15 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Using detailed Monte Carlo calculations, the properties of runaway breakdown in the atmospheres of the four gas giant planets in our solar system are investigated, and the runaway avalanche lengths and average runaway electron kinetic energies are presented as a function of atmospheric electric field strengths. The runaway breakdown threshold field for the Jovian atmospheres is found to be 10 times smaller than the conventional breakdown field when hydrometeors are present, compared to 3 times smaller for Earth's atmosphere, indicating that runaway breakdown processes may be much more efficient in the gas giants than on Earth. In the Earth's atmosphere, runaway breakdown is known to produce large bursts of x-rays and gamma-rays from thunderstorms, such as terrestrial gamma-ray flashes, and may play a role in lightning initiation. These results suggest that runaway breakdown may play an important role in thunderstorm and lightning processes on the Jovian planets as well.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberL22813
JournalGeophysical Research Letters
Volume33
Issue number22
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 28 2006
Externally publishedYes

Fingerprint

breakdown
atmospheres
atmosphere
thunderstorm
lightning
thunderstorms
planet
Earth atmosphere
avalanche
gas
gas giant planets
gamma rays
hydrometeors
solar system
kinetic energy
electric field
electric field strength
electron
avalanches
flash

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)

Cite this

Dwyer, J. R., Coleman, L. M., Lopez, R., Saleh, Z., Concha, D., Brown, M. G., & Rassoul, H. K. (2006). Runaway breakdown in the Jovian atmospheres. Geophysical Research Letters, 33(22), [L22813]. https://doi.org/10.1029/2006GL027633

Runaway breakdown in the Jovian atmospheres. / Dwyer, J. R.; Coleman, L. M.; Lopez, R.; Saleh, Z.; Concha, D.; Brown, Michael G; Rassoul, H. K.

In: Geophysical Research Letters, Vol. 33, No. 22, L22813, 28.11.2006.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Dwyer, JR, Coleman, LM, Lopez, R, Saleh, Z, Concha, D, Brown, MG & Rassoul, HK 2006, 'Runaway breakdown in the Jovian atmospheres', Geophysical Research Letters, vol. 33, no. 22, L22813. https://doi.org/10.1029/2006GL027633
Dwyer JR, Coleman LM, Lopez R, Saleh Z, Concha D, Brown MG et al. Runaway breakdown in the Jovian atmospheres. Geophysical Research Letters. 2006 Nov 28;33(22). L22813. https://doi.org/10.1029/2006GL027633
Dwyer, J. R. ; Coleman, L. M. ; Lopez, R. ; Saleh, Z. ; Concha, D. ; Brown, Michael G ; Rassoul, H. K. / Runaway breakdown in the Jovian atmospheres. In: Geophysical Research Letters. 2006 ; Vol. 33, No. 22.
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