Uncovering the relationship between solar activity and thunderstorms in the Tien-Shan mountain range

thunderstorm over the himalayas

A recent research article published in MDPI Atmosphere studied the features of various sources of disturbances in the atmospheric electric field at the Tien-Shan high-mountain station and established a statistical relationship between solar and thunderstorm activity.

  • The study found that air currents arising over the ocean and passing through the mountain gorges of the Himalayas carry moisture to the Northern Tien-Shan (Heavenly Mountain), determining the weather features and thunderstorm activity at the Tien-Shan high-mountain station.
  • Additionally, the research investigated the impact of coronal mass ejections (CMEs) on the atmospheric electric field and found that CMEs can increase or decrease the level of the atmospheric electric field or cause fluctuations, depending on the features of manifestations in the near-Earth space and in the Earth’s magnetosphere.

The relationship between solar activity and thunderstorm rate has been a topic of study for many years but remains a controversial subject.

The results of research on this topic have been contradictory, obtained in different regions, during different periods, and using different characteristics of solar and thunderstorm activity.

Despite this, interest in the problems of atmospheric electricity continues to be high as it is understood that the electric field of the atmosphere is an important environmental factor closely interconnected with other components of the Earth’s atmosphere and that it affects human life.

Results of scientific research in recent years indicate that the influence of solar activity, the interplanetary magnetic field, and galactic cosmic rays on atmospheric processes is carried out through a global electrical circuit. However, the mechanisms of such influence are still being discussed.

This research article aims to study the features of the manifestations of various sources of disturbances in the atmospheric electric field at the Tien-Shan high-mountain station of the Institute of the Ionosphere (Kazakhstan) and to determine the statistical relationship between solar and thunderstorm activity using data at the experimental complex. This work takes into account the regional features of the location of experimental complexes. The impact of coronal mass ejections and high-speed solar wind flows on the atmospheric electric field was carried out by taking into account features of their manifestations in the atmosphere and magnetosphere of the Earth, which gave new results.

Air currents arising over the ocean and passing through the mountain gorges of the Himalayas carry moisture to the Northern Tien-Shan, determining the weather features and thunderstorm activity at the Tien-Shan high-mountain station.

The research found that the maximum and minimum thunderstorm activity at the Tien-Shan high-mountain station corresponds to the distribution curve of daily thunderstorm activity for the Asia–Australia region.

The study also investigated the impact of coronal mass ejections (CMEs) on the atmospheric electric field.

It was found that CMEs can increase or decrease the level of the atmospheric electric field or cause fluctuations, depending on the features of manifestations in near-Earth space and in the Earth’s magnetosphere. In at least 70% of cases, thunderstorm activity was observed with a 1–2-day delay after impact on the Earth’s magnetosphere by CMEs and high speed streams (HSSs).

Additionally, the research identified a number of cases when thunderstorm activity was observed in a quiet geomagnetic field. In these cases, an increase in the values of fmin (the minimum frequency of reflection from the ionosphere) and foEs (the critical frequency of the sporadic E layer) was observed, indicating an increase in the level of radio wave absorption in the ionospheric D-region and the level of electron density at altitudes of 100 – 120 km (62 – 74.5 miles).

The absence of the Carnegie effect in the diurnal variation of the electric field at the high-mountain Tien-Shan station was also established. The researchers proposed that the proximity to the thunderstorm source in the Himalayas, where the maximum thunderstorm activity occurs much earlier than in other regions at the same latitude, is likely the explanation for this.

The study concludes that the local features of the location of the Tien-Shan high-mountain station, such as its proximity to the thunderstorm source in the Himalayas, prevail over global effects that affect the diurnal dynamics of the atmospheric electric field in this case.

The research also identified a number of cases of changes in the parameters of the lower layers of the ionosphere during thunderstorms, which will be the subject of further study.

References:

Impact of Various Disturbance Sources on the Atmospheric Electric Field and Thunderstorm Activity of the Northern Tien-Shan – MDPI Atmosphere – Valentina Antonova et al. – January 2023 – OPEN ACCESS – https://doi.org/10.3390/atmos14010164

Featured image credit: The Watchers

If you value what we do here, create your ad-free account and support our journalism.

Share:

Related articles



Your support makes a difference

Dear valued reader,

We hope that our website has been a valuable resource for you.

The reality is that it takes a lot of time, effort, and resources to maintain and grow this website. We rely on the support of readers like you to keep providing high-quality content.

If you have found our website to be helpful, please consider making a contribution to help us continue to bring you the information you need. Your support means the world to us and helps us to keep doing what we love.

Support us by choosing your support level – Silver, Gold or Platinum. Other support options include Patreon pledges and sending us a one-off payment using PayPal.

Thank you for your consideration. Your support is greatly appreciated.

Sincerely,
Teo Blašković

$5 /month

  • Ad-free account
  • Clean user interface and fast browsing
  • Direct communication with us via chat and email
  • Suggest new features, content and applications
  • Early access to new apps and features

$50 /year

$10 /month

  • Ad-free account
  • Clean user interface and fast browsing
  • Direct communication with us via chat and email
  • Suggest new features, content and applications
  • Early access to new apps and features

$100 /year

$25 /month

  • Ad-free account
  • Clean user interface and fast browsing
  • Direct communication with us via chat and email
  • Suggest new features, content and applications
  • Early access to new apps and features

$200 /year

You can also support us on Patreon

support us on patreon

or by sending us a one-off payment using PayPal:


Commenting rules and guidelines

We value the thoughts and opinions of our readers and welcome healthy discussions on our website. In order to maintain a respectful and positive community, we ask that all commenters follow these rules:

  • Treat others with kindness and respect.
  • Stay on topic and contribute to the conversation in a meaningful way.
  • Do not use abusive or hateful language.
  • Do not spam or promote unrelated products or services.
  • Do not post any personal information or content that is illegal, obscene, or otherwise inappropriate.

We reserve the right to remove any comments that violate these rules. By commenting on our website, you agree to abide by these guidelines. Thank you for helping to create a positive and welcoming environment for all.

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *