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Streamer discharges determine the very first stage of sparks or lightning, and they govern the evolution of huge sprite discharges above thunderclouds as well as the operation of corona reactors in plasma technology. Streamers are nonlinear structures with multiple inner scales. After briefly reviewing basic observations, experiments and the microphysics, we start from density models for streamers, i.e. from reaction-drift-diffusion equations for charged-particle densities coupled to thedoi:10.1088/0951-7715/24/1/c01 fatcat:eci2az67vbhtnnrbir7woivocm