Thunderstorm electric fields probed by extensive air showers through their polarized radio emission

T.N.G. Trinh (Corresponding author), O. Scholten, A. Bonardi, S. Buitink, A. Corstanje, U.M. Ebert, J.E. Enriquez, H. Falcke, J.R. Hörandel, B.M. Hare, P. Mitra, K. Mulrey, A. Nelles, J.P. Rachen, L. Rossetto, C. Rutjes, P. Schellart, S. Thoudam, S. Ter Veen, T. Winchen

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Abstract

We observe a large fraction of circular polarization in radio emission from extensive air showers recorded during thunderstorms, much higher than in the emission from air showers measured during fair-weather circumstances. We show that the circular polarization of the air showers measured during thunderstorms can be explained by the change in the direction of the transverse current as a function of altitude induced by atmospheric electric fields. Thus by using the full set of Stokes parameters for these events, we obtain a good characterization of the electric fields in thunderclouds. We also measure a large horizontal component of the electric fields in the two events that we have analyzed.

Original languageEnglish
Article number083004
Number of pages10
JournalPhysical Review D
Volume95
Issue number8
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 7 Apr 2017

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    Trinh, T. N. G., Scholten, O., Bonardi, A., Buitink, S., Corstanje, A., Ebert, U. M., Enriquez, J. E., Falcke, H., Hörandel, J. R., Hare, B. M., Mitra, P., Mulrey, K., Nelles, A., Rachen, J. P., Rossetto, L., Rutjes, C., Schellart, P., Thoudam, S., Ter Veen, S., & Winchen, T. (2017). Thunderstorm electric fields probed by extensive air showers through their polarized radio emission. Physical Review D, 95(8), [083004]. https://doi.org/10.1103/PhysRevD.95.083004