Thunderstorms are electric generators, which drive currents upwardly into the ionosphere. In this paper, we examine the effects of thunderstorm upward current on the ionosphere. We use a thunderstorm model to calculate the three-dimensional current flows in the atmosphere and to simulate the upward current above the thunderstorm with the tripole-charge structure. The upward current flows into the ionosphere, while the associated electric field causes the plasma E × B motion. The caused plasma motion redistributes the plasma density, leading to ionospheric density variations. In the nighttime ionosphere, the E × B motion may also cause the formation of plasma bubbles.
- plasma bubble
- TEC variations