We present time-correlated ultra-high-speed video camera and electromagnetic field measurements of the attachment processes in a natural negative cloud-to-ground stroke. The video camera frame exposure time and pixel resolution were 740 ns and 0.91 m/pixel, respectively. The common streamer zone (CSZ) was first observed 2.52 µs preceding the first frame showing the return stroke (RS) in progress, when the upward and downward leader-tips were 9.8 m apart. In the next frame, the two leaders were observed to have propagated toward each other within the CSZ, with their tips being 0.91 m apart. Our observations show with unprecedented precision/clarity that (a) the slow front in the field waveform is associated with the CSZ, and (b) the “proper” start of the RS is marked by the onset of the fast transition in the field waveform which occurs at the completion of the attachment processes (when the upward and downward leaders have merged).
- attachment processes
- cloud-to-ground lightning
- common streamer zone
- electromagnetic field measurements
- sub-microsecond scale observations
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Earth and Planetary Sciences(all)