A Rapid Gamma-Ray Glow Flux Reduction Observed From 20 km Altitude
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Original versionJournal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres. 2021, 126 (9), e2020JD033467. 10.1029/2020JD033467
Two gamma-ray glows were observed by a high-altitude NASA ER-2 aircraft flying at 20 km altitude over a thunderstorm in Colorado, USA. The flux of the first glow rapidly intensified and then abruptly decreased within a few tens of milliseconds. On a timescale of seconds, the flux decrease occurred simultaneously with a hybrid intra-cloud/cloud-to-ground lightning discharge beneath the aircraft. However, a more detailed analysis of the discharge dynamics indicated that the discharge activity was unusually calm during the actual period of the flux decrease. The lightning was observed with on-board antennas, optical sensor, and ground-based lightning mapping and location networks. Its closest activity was 12 km away from the aircraft, below and slightly ahead the course. The gamma-ray flux reduction happened roughly in the middle of the lightning development process. The glow spectral analysis for the periods of a weak and strong flux enhancement has been done. The spectra were found to be background-like and similar to each other.