Profile image
By Alton Parrish (Reporter)
Contributor profile | More stories
Story Views
Now:
Last Hour:
Last 24 Hours:
Total:

Minute Lasting Gamma Ray Glows Coming from Thunderclouds, Linked to Lightning

% of readers think this story is Fact. Add your two cents.

University of Tokyo graduate student Yuuki Wada with colleagues from Japan discover a connection between lightning strikes and two kinds of gamma-ray phenomena in thunderclouds. The research suggests that in certain conditions, weak gamma-ray glows from thunderclouds may precede lightning bolts and their accompanying gamma-ray flashes.A thundercloud can carry over 1 billion volts of electricity.

Credit: 2019 Yuuki Wada

 

In the city of Kanazawa, Ishikawa Prefecture, in central Japan, Wada and colleagues work with local schools and businesses to install radiation monitors onto buildings. These radiation monitors are not there due to some worry about local radiation levels, though. They form a network, the purpose of which is to detect radiation coming from the sky. It may surprise some, but it’s been known for around 30 years that thunderstorms can bring with them gamma-ray activity.

“Forever, people have seen lightning and heard thunder. These were the ways we could experience this power of nature,” said Wada. “With the discovery of electromagnetism, scientists learned to see lightning with radio receivers. But now we can observe lightning in gamma rays – ionizing radiation. It’s like having four eyes to study the phenomena.”

A thundercloud over the city of Kanazawa. The gamma-ray glow terminated abruptly around location B. The lightning struck between locations A and B.

Credit: 2019 Yuuki Wada

There are two known kinds of gamma-ray phenomena associated with thunderclouds: gamma-ray glows, weak emissions which last about a minute, and short-lived terrestrial gamma-ray flashes (TGFs), which occur as lightning strikes and are much more intense than gamma-ray glows. Both occur in regions of thunderclouds sandwiched between layers of varying charge. The charged regions accelerate electrons to near the speed of light. At these speeds, referred to as relativistic, electrons that stray very close to the nuclei of nitrogen atoms in the air slow down a little and emit a telltale gamma ray. This is called bremsstrahlung radiation.

“During a winter thunderstorm in Kanazawa, our monitors detected a simultaneous TGF and lightning strike. This is fairly common, but interestingly we also saw a gamma-ray glow in the same area at the same time,” continued Wada. “Furthermore, the glow abruptly disappeared when the lightning struck. We can say conclusively the events are intimately connected and this is the first time this connection has been observed.”

The mechanism underlying lightning discharge is highly sought after and this research may offer previously unknown insights. Wada and team intend to further their investigation to explore the possibility that gamma-ray glows don’t just precede lightning strikes, but may in fact cause them. Radiation levels of the gamma-ray flashes are quite low, approximately a tenth the level one may receive from a typical medical X-ray.

“Our finding marks a milestone in lightning research and we will soon double our number of radiation sensors from 23 to about 40 or 50. With more sensors, we could greatly improve predictive models,” explained Wada. “It’s hard to say right now, but with sufficient sensor data, we may be able to predict lightning strikes within about 10 minutes of them happening and within around 2 kilometers of where they happen. I’m excited to be part of this ongoing research.”

Further investigations will likely still take place in Kanazawa as the area has rare and ideal meteorological conditions for this kind of work. Most radiation observations in storms come from airborne or mountain-based stations as thunderclouds are generally very high up. But winter storms in Kanazawa bring thunderclouds surprisingly close to the ground, ideal for study with the low-cost portable monitors developed by the research team.

Gamma-ray glow preceding gamma-ray flash.

Credit:  2019 Yuuki Wada and Hayanon’s Science Manga Studio

The researchers created these unique portable radiation monitors in part with technology derived from space-based satellite observatories designed for astrophysics experiments. This is appropriate as the data from this kind of research could be useful for those who research astrophysics and in particular solar physics in the context of particle acceleration. But there is a more down-to-earth offshoot as well.

“Paleontologists who study life from the last 50,000 years or so use a technique called carbon-14 dating to determine the age of a sample. The technique relies on knowledge of the levels of two kinds of carbon, carbon-12 and carbon-14,” said Wada. “It’s commonly thought carbon-14 is created by cosmic rays at a roughly constant rate, hence the predictive power of the technique. But there’s a suggestion thunderstorms may alter the ratio of carbon-12 to carbon-14, which may slightly change the accuracy of or calibration required for carbon-14 dating to work.”

Wada and colleagues will continue to unpick the mysteries of lightning, one of nature’s most captivating and iconic phenomena. An upcoming collaborative project based in France will launch a dedicated satellite for worldwide lightning observations from space.

Contacts and sources:
Yuuki Wada

University of Tokyo

Citation: Gamma-ray glow preceding downward terrestrial gamma-ray flash Yuuki Wada, Teruaki Enoto, Yoshitaka Nakamura, Yoshihiro Furuta, Takayuki Yuasa, Kazuhiro Nakazawa, Takeshi Morimoto, Mitsuteru Sato, Takahiro Matsumoto, Daisuke Yonetoku, Tatsuya Sawano, Hideo Sakai, Masashi Kamogawa, Tomoo Ushio, Kazuo Makishima & Harufumi Tsuchiya Communications Physicsvolume 2, Article number: 67 (2019) https://www.nature.com/articles/s42005-019-0168-y  http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s42005-019-0168-y 

 

 



Source: http://www.ineffableisland.com/2019/06/minute-lasting-gamma-ray-glows-coming.html
Support BeforeitsNews by trying our natural health products! Join our affiliate program
Order by Phone at 888-809-8385 or online at www.mitocopper.com
Get our Free Ebook, "Suppressed Health Secrets" THEY don't want you to know!

APeX - Far superior to colloidal silver!  Desroys Viruses, Bacteria, Pathogens!
Ultimate Curcumin - Natural pain relief, reduce inflammation and so much more.
Supreme Fulvic - Nature's most important supplement! Vivid Dreams again!
MitoCopper - Bioavailable Copper destroys pathogens and gives you more energy.
Oxy Powder - Natural Colon Cleanser! Cleans out toxic buildup!
B-12 - Supports healthy metabolism, brain function, hormone balance!
Nascent Iodine - Promotes detoxification, mental focus and thyroid health.
Never Wax Your Car Again -
Protects vehicles for years with dazzling shine!
Smart Meter Cover - Reduces Smart Meter radiation! See Video!
Prodovite - The Secret To Healing is in the Blood!

Tactical Laser Blinds
Attackers
Bring Batteries Back
toLife!
New Laser Blinds Attackers Instantly! Bring Dead Batteries Back to life!
US Faces 100 Year Drought
Cut Power Bills by 65%
NASA - US Faces 100 Year Drought! Discovery Can Cut Power Bills by 65%
Report abuse

Comments

Your Comments
Question   Razz  Sad   Evil  Exclaim  Smile  Redface  Biggrin  Surprised  Eek   Confused   Cool  LOL   Mad   Twisted  Rolleyes   Wink  Idea  Arrow  Neutral  Cry   Mr. Green

Total 1 comment
  • raburgeson

    Laser cloud seeding?

SignUp

Login

Newsletter

Email this story
Email this story

If you really want to ban this commenter, please write down the reason:

If you really want to disable all recommended stories, click on OK button. After that, you will be redirect to your options page.