Atmos. Chem. Phys. Discuss., 8, 2311-2336, 2008
www.atmos-chem-phys-discuss.net/8/2311/2008/
doi:10.5194/acpd-8-2311-2008
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This discussion paper has been under review for the journal Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics (ACP). Please refer to the corresponding final paper in ACP.
Chemistry of sprite discharges through ion-neutral reactions
Y. Hiraki1, Y. Kasai2, and H. Fukunishi3
1Graduate School of Energy Science, Kyoto University, Uji, Kyoto, Japan
2National Inst. of Information and Communications Technology (NICT), Koganei, Tokyo, Japan
3Department of Geophysics, Tohoku University, Sendai, Miyagi, Japan

Abstract. We estimate the concentration changes, caused by a single streamer in sprites, of ozone and related minor species as odd nitrogen (NOx) and hydrogen (HOx) families in the upper stratosphere and mesosphere. The streamer has an intense electric field and high electron density at its head where a large number of chemically-radical ions and atoms are produced through electron impact on neutral molecules. After propagation of the streamer, the densities of minor species can be perturbed through ion-neutral chemical reactions initiated by the relaxation of these radical products. We evaluate the production rates of ions and atoms using electron kinetics model and assuming the electric field and electron density in the streamer head. We calculate the density variations mainly for NOx, Ox, and HOx species using a one-dimensional model of the neutral and ion composition of the middle atmosphere, including the effect of the sprite streamer. Results at the nighttime condition show that the densities of NO, O3, H, and OH increase suddenly through reactions triggered by firstly produced atomic nitrogen and oxygen, and electrons just after streamer initiation. It is shown that NO and NO2 still remain for 1 h by a certain order of increase with their source-sink balance predominantly around 60 km; for other species, increases in O3, OH, HO2, and H2O2 still remain in the range of 40–70 km. From this affirmative result of long time behavior previously not presented, we emphasize that sprites would have a power to impact on local chemistry at night. We also discuss comparison with previous studies and suggestion for satellite observations.

Citation: Hiraki, Y., Kasai, Y., and Fukunishi, H.: Chemistry of sprite discharges through ion-neutral reactions, Atmos. Chem. Phys. Discuss., 8, 2311-2336, doi:10.5194/acpd-8-2311-2008, 2008.
 
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