Schumann Resonance

Also known, more poetically, as the Earth “breathing” or its “heartbeat”:

SchumannAnim_00759_web

In essence: low frequency electromagnetic waves bouncing and resonating between the Earth’s surface and the ionosphere.

Lightning acts as the trigger. There’s a background ‘standing wave’ and larger pulses superimposed over this three times a day, at 0900, 1400, and 2000 UTC, coinciding with the daily peaks of lightning along the Earth’s three “thunderstorm chimneys”. These are Africa, South America, and Southeast Asia. Lightning is ultimately a marker of the strength of atmospheric convection, which is greatest in tropical regions, and greater over land surfaces rather than ocean. More lightning where hot and dry: hence Africa acts as the strongest chimney.

High energy positive lightning can cause temporary pulses of Schumann resonances — extra beats of the gong— known as Q bursts, associated with ‘transient luminous events’ (SPRITES, ELVES and other elusive forms of upper atmosphere lightning with whimsical acronyms).

Also on other planets (see wiki).

Useful for studying various things (see wiki), including possible relationship between lightning and climate change— positive feedback with higher temperatures leading to more lightning producing more nitrous oxides and ozone which are themselves greenhouse gases.

Sources:
Wikipedia, of course
See Nasa Goddard for brief explanation and animations

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