Detecting multiple ground contacts in cloud-to-ground lightning flashes

Christina A. Stall, Kenneth L. Cummins, E. Philip Krider, John A. Cramer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations

Abstract

Video recordings of cloud-to-ground (CG) lightning flashes have been analyzed in conjunction with correlated stroke reports from the U.S. National Lightning Detection Network (NLDN) to determine whether the NLDN is capable of identifying the different ground contacts in CG flashes. For 39 negative CG flashes that were recorded on video near Tucson, Arizona, the NLDN-based horizontal distances between the first stroke and the 62 subsequent strokes remaining in a preexisting channel had a mean and standard deviation of 0.9 ± 0.8 km and a median of 0.7 km. The horizontal distances between the first stroke and the 59 new ground contacts (NGCs) had a mean and standard deviation of 2.3 ± 1.7 km and a median of 2.1 km. These results are in good agreement with prior measurements of the random errors in NLDN positions in southern Arizona as well as video- and thunder-based measurements of the distances between all ground contacts in Florida. In cases where the distances between ground contacts are small and obscured by random errors in the NLDN locations, measurements of the stroke rise time, estimated peak current, and stroke order can be utilized to enhance the ability of the NLDN to identify strokes that produce new ground terminations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2392-2402
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Atmospheric and Oceanic Technology
Volume26
Issue number11
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 2009

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ocean Engineering
  • Atmospheric Science

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