High-speed video observations of positive lightning flashes

Marcelo M.F. Saba, Wolfgang Schulz, Tom A. Warner, Leandro Z.S. Campos, Richard Orville, E. Philip Krider, Kenneth L. Cummins, Carina Schumann

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


Although positive lightning flashes to ground are not as frequent as negative flashes, their large amplitudes and destructive characteristics make understanding their parameters an important issue. This study summarizes the characteristics of 103 positive cloud-to-ground (+CG) flashes that have been recorded using high-speed video cameras (up to 8000 frames per second) in three countries together with time-correlated data provided by lightning location systems (LLS). A large fraction of the +CG flashes (81%) produced just a single-stroke, and the average multiplicity was 1.2 strokes per flash. All the subsequent strokes in multiple-stroke +CG flashes created a new ground termination except one. 75% of the +CG flashes contained at least one long continuing current (LCC) ≥ 40 ms, and this percentage is significantly larger than in the negative flashes that produce LCCs (approximately 30%). The median estimated peak current, (Ip) for 116 positive strokes that created new ground terminations was 39.4 kA. Positive strokes with a large Ip were usually followed by a LCC, and both of these parameters are threats in lightning protection. The characteristics presented here include the multiplicities of strokes and ground contacts, the percentage of single-stroke flashes, the durations of the continuing current, and the distributions of Ip.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publication2010 30th International Conference on Lightning Protection, ICLP 2010
PublisherInstitute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Inc.
ISBN (Electronic)9788890551901
StatePublished - Feb 7 2017
Event30th International Conference on Lightning Protection, ICLP 2010 - Cagliari, Italy
Duration: Sep 13 2010Sep 17 2010

Publication series

Name2010 30th International Conference on Lightning Protection, ICLP 2010


Conference30th International Conference on Lightning Protection, ICLP 2010

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering
  • Safety, Risk, Reliability and Quality
  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology


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