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Observable Electrical and Electromagnetic Effects of Developing Streamer Systems
  • Brant Carlson,
  • Nikolai G. Lehtinen
Brant Carlson
Carthage College

Corresponding Author:[email protected]

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Nikolai G. Lehtinen
University of Bergen, Birkeland Centre for Space Science
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Streamers are millimeter-diameter cold plasma discharges that can extend, branch, and interact with complex collective dynamics to form meter-scale systems. Such streamer systems can be expected to play an important role in lightning. Small-scale streamer systems may grow to provide sufficient ionization and intensification of field to support initiation of hot plasma channel development. Streamer systems developing ahead of the lightning channel may guide channel extension and help explain the observed step-wise extension process. Rapidly-developing streamer systems may also help explain recent observations of fast positive and negative breakdown. We present simulations of streamer system development based on approximate particle-like treatment of individual streamer behavior but including large-scale system dynamics including interaction, collision/connection, and secondary streamer initiation. Here we focus on the observable effects of such streamer system development, including electrostatic field change and electromagnetic wave emissions with frequencies up to 500 MHz. Preliminary results suggest high-frequency (HF) emissions due to streamer acceleration and interaction in isolated streamer systems are comparable in scale to observations of HF emission from lightning and develop before detectable static field change occurs, but these results depend on simulation parameters.