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Atmosphere 2016, 7(10), 130; doi:10.3390/atmos7100130

A Study of Preliminary Breakdown and Return Stroke Processes in High-Intensity Negative Lightning Discharges

1
Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, University of Florida, 1064 Center Drive, Gainesville, FL 32611, USA
2
Institute of Applied Physics, Russian Academy of Sciences, Nizhny Novgorod 603950, Russia
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Vernon Cooray and Farhad Rachidi
Received: 7 September 2016 / Revised: 11 October 2016 / Accepted: 11 October 2016 / Published: 16 October 2016
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Abstract

Using an automated data processing algorithm, we examined electric field records of 5498 negative cloud-to-ground flashes reported by the U.S. National Lightning Detection Network (NLDN) within 50 to 500 km of the Lightning Observatory in Gainesville (LOG), Florida. Out of the 5498 flashes, 3496 (64%) had detectable preliminary breakdown (PB) pulse trains. Only 3077 flashes with a single PB pulse train and NLDN-reported first-return-stroke (RS) peak current ≥50 kA were selected for detailed analysis. The arithmetic mean values of PB pulse train duration, PB-RS interval, and PB/RS pulse peak ratio were 2.7 ms, 8.8 ms, and 0.15, respectively. The PB-RS interval was found to decrease with increasing RS peak current (Spearman correlation coefficient was statistically significant and equal to −0.80). The range-normalized PB pulse peak exhibited statistically significant positive correlation with the RS peak current, with Spearman correlation coefficient being 0.48. Thus, it appears that the high-intensity (≥50 kA) negative lightning is characterized by shorter (and, by inference, faster) stepped leaders and more pronounced PB pulse trains. View Full-Text
Keywords: negative cloud-to-ground lightning; preliminary breakdown; stepped leader; return stroke; electric field waveforms negative cloud-to-ground lightning; preliminary breakdown; stepped leader; return stroke; electric field waveforms
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Zhu, Y.; Rakov, V.A.; Tran, M.D. A Study of Preliminary Breakdown and Return Stroke Processes in High-Intensity Negative Lightning Discharges. Atmosphere 2016, 7, 130.

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