Development characteristics of cloud-to-ground lightning with multiple grounding points
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Using the optical images of a cloud-to-ground lightning flash with multiple grounding points obtained by a high-speed video system in the Qinghai Province of China along with synchronous radiated electric field information, the propagation characteristic and the electric field change features of the leaders and the grounding behavior of discharge channels are analyzed. In addition, the two-dimensional velocity of the leader was estimated and its correlation with the time interval of the corresponding subsequent return stroke, and that with the peak current of return stroke are investigated. The results show that the average distance between the three obvious grounded points of the first return stroke channel is about 512.7 m, and the average time interval between the pulses of the corresponding electric field fast changes is 3.8 μs. Further, the average time interval between electric field pulses from the stepped leader is smaller than that of normal single grounding lightning. The observed lightning in our study has two main channels, namely the left and right channels. Based on our observations, it is clear that the dart leader comes close to the ground in case of the left channel after the first return stroke, but it fails to form a return stroke. However, the right channel exhibits a relatively rare phenomenon in that the subsequent return stroke R2 occurred about 2.1 ms after the dart leader arrived at the ground, which was unusually long; this phenomenon might be attributed to the strong discharge of the first return stroke and insufficient charge accumulation near the grounded point in a timely manner. The two-dimensional velocities for the stepped leader of the two main channels are about 1.23×105 and 1.16×105 m s−1, respectively. A sub-branch of stepped leader for the left channel fails to reach the ground and develops into an attempt leader eventually; this might be attributed to the fact that the main branch connects considerably many sub-branches, which leads to the instantaneous decline of the potential difference between the sub-branch and ground. Furthermore, it might also be because the propagation direction of this sub-branch is almost perpendicular to the atmospheric electric field direction, which is not conducive to charge transfer. The two-dimensional velocities for the dart leaders of five subsequent return strokes are all in the normal range, and they positively correlate with the peak current of the subsequent return stroke.
KeywordsMultiple grounding lightning High-speed camera Electric field changes Leader
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This work was supported by the National Natural Science Foundations of China (Grants Nos. 11475139, 11365019 & 11605108) and the Gansu Provincial Science and Technology Program (Grant No. 1506RJZA119).
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