Gamma Ray Bursts found to be Common in Thunderstorms

I have no idea if this has any relationship to LENR, but I find it interesting that there is now convincing evidence that thunderstorms commonly produce stong bursts of gamma rays — a phenomenon once thought to only occur in deep space. Researchers presented findings on the topic at a meeting of the American Geophysical Union in San Francisco.

Researchers from France and the Netherlands were able to measure these gamma bursts, known as terrestrial gamma-ray flashes when flying a plane through thunderstorms.

In a BBC article published today, Joseph Dwyer, a professor of physics at the University of New Hampshire is quoted as saying, “These are big, monster bursts of gamma rays, and one would think these must be monster storms producing them. But that’s not the case. Even boring-looking, garden-variety, little storms can produce these. Any kind of storm seems to produce these terrestrial gamma-ray flashes.”

Naturally whenever radiation bursts are mentioned, there is concern of the possible health effects. Those who are most at risk to be exposed to these bursts are crew and passengers in aircraft flying near these storms which tend to occur at around seven miles high — the approximate cruising altitude of airliners. A blog post at Scientific American explains that, “the typical burst of gamma rays is roughly equivalent to a year of background radiation on earth, and the X-rays are hundreds of times more energetic than the typical medical X-ray—about the equivalent of getting an entire CT body scan in just a few seconds.”

Could this finding be evidence of some kind of naturally-occurring phenomenon? I don’t know, but I have read suggestions that this could be the case. For example, here’s an excerpt from a 2012 article in Discover magazine titled “Bring back the ‘Cold Fusion’ Dream:

“In addition, Widom and Larsen theorized that the same neutron production process could happen in nature. Recently, scientists found one piece of supporting evidence for that. In March a study in Physical Review Letters described a large flux of neutrons during thunderstorms—perhaps, Larsen says, the result of LENRs in the atmosphere sparked by electricity from lightning.”