A Review of Positive and Bipolar Lightning Discharges

A Review of Positive and Bipolar Lightning Discharges Characteristics of lightning discharges that transport either positive charge or both positive and negative charges to the ground are reviewed. These are termed positive and bipolar lightning discharges, respectively. Different types of positive and bipolar lightning are discussed. Although positive lightning discharges account for 10 or less of global cloud-to-ground lightning activity, there are five situations that appear to be conducive to the more frequent occurrence of positive lightning. These situations include 1) the dissipating stage of an individual thunderstorm, 2) winter thunderstorms, 3) trailing stratiform regions of mesoscale convective systems, 4) some severe storms, and 5) thunderclouds formed over forest fires or contaminated by smoke. The highest directly measured lightning currents (near 300 kA) and the largest charge transfers (hundreds of coulombs or more) are thought to be associated with positive lightning. Two types of impulsive positive current waveforms have been observed. One type is characterized by rise times of the order of 10 s, comparable to those for first strokes in negative lightning, and the other type is characterized by considerably longer rise times, up to hundreds of microseconds. The latter waveforms are apparently associated with very long, 12 km, upward negative connecting leaders. The positive return-stroke speed is of the order of 108 m s1. Positive flashes are usually composed of a single stroke. Positive return strokes often appear to be preceded by significant in-cloud discharge activity, then followed by continuing currents, and involve long horizontal channels. In contrast to negative leaders, which are always optically stepped when they propagate in virgin air, positive leaders seem to be able to move either continuously or in a stepped fashion. The reported percentage of bipolar flashes in summer storms ranges from 6 to 14 and from 5 to 33 in winter storms. Bipolar lightning discharges are usually initiated by upward leaders from tall objects. It appears that positive and negative charge sources in the cloud are tapped by different upward branches of the bipolar-lightning channel. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society American Meteorological Society

A Review of Positive and Bipolar Lightning Discharges

Loading next page...
 
/lp/ams/a-review-of-positive-and-bipolar-lightning-discharges-6IWoTqNkuI
Publisher
American Meteorological Society
Copyright
Copyright © American Meteorological Society
ISSN
1520-0477
D.O.I.
10.1175/BAMS-84-6-767
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Characteristics of lightning discharges that transport either positive charge or both positive and negative charges to the ground are reviewed. These are termed positive and bipolar lightning discharges, respectively. Different types of positive and bipolar lightning are discussed. Although positive lightning discharges account for 10 or less of global cloud-to-ground lightning activity, there are five situations that appear to be conducive to the more frequent occurrence of positive lightning. These situations include 1) the dissipating stage of an individual thunderstorm, 2) winter thunderstorms, 3) trailing stratiform regions of mesoscale convective systems, 4) some severe storms, and 5) thunderclouds formed over forest fires or contaminated by smoke. The highest directly measured lightning currents (near 300 kA) and the largest charge transfers (hundreds of coulombs or more) are thought to be associated with positive lightning. Two types of impulsive positive current waveforms have been observed. One type is characterized by rise times of the order of 10 s, comparable to those for first strokes in negative lightning, and the other type is characterized by considerably longer rise times, up to hundreds of microseconds. The latter waveforms are apparently associated with very long, 12 km, upward negative connecting leaders. The positive return-stroke speed is of the order of 108 m s1. Positive flashes are usually composed of a single stroke. Positive return strokes often appear to be preceded by significant in-cloud discharge activity, then followed by continuing currents, and involve long horizontal channels. In contrast to negative leaders, which are always optically stepped when they propagate in virgin air, positive leaders seem to be able to move either continuously or in a stepped fashion. The reported percentage of bipolar flashes in summer storms ranges from 6 to 14 and from 5 to 33 in winter storms. Bipolar lightning discharges are usually initiated by upward leaders from tall objects. It appears that positive and negative charge sources in the cloud are tapped by different upward branches of the bipolar-lightning channel.

Journal

Bulletin of the American Meteorological SocietyAmerican Meteorological Society

Published: Jun 23, 2003

There are no references for this article.

You’re reading a free preview. Subscribe to read the entire article.


DeepDyve is your
personal research library

It’s your single place to instantly
discover and read the research
that matters to you.

Enjoy affordable access to
over 18 million articles from more than
15,000 peer-reviewed journals.

All for just $49/month

Explore the DeepDyve Library

Search

Query the DeepDyve database, plus search all of PubMed and Google Scholar seamlessly

Organize

Save any article or search result from DeepDyve, PubMed, and Google Scholar... all in one place.

Access

Get unlimited, online access to over 18 million full-text articles from more than 15,000 scientific journals.

Your journals are on DeepDyve

Read from thousands of the leading scholarly journals from SpringerNature, Elsevier, Wiley-Blackwell, Oxford University Press and more.

All the latest content is available, no embargo periods.

See the journals in your area

DeepDyve

Freelancer

DeepDyve

Pro

Price

FREE

$49/month
$360/year

Save searches from
Google Scholar,
PubMed

Create lists to
organize your research

Export lists, citations

Read DeepDyve articles

Abstract access only

Unlimited access to over
18 million full-text articles

Print

20 pages / month

PDF Discount

20% off