Papers on Climate and Dynamics
M-component mode of charge transfer to ground in lightning discharges
Article first published online: 21 SEP 2012
Copyright 2001 by the American Geophysical Union.
Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres (1984–2012)
Volume 106, Issue D19, pages 22817–22831, 16 October 2001
How to Cite
2001), M-component mode of charge transfer to ground in lightning discharges, J. Geophys. Res., 106(D19), 22817–22831, doi:10.1029/2000JD000243., , , , , and (
- Issue published online: 21 SEP 2012
- Article first published online: 21 SEP 2012
- Manuscript Accepted: 14 JUN 2001
- Manuscript Received: 8 DEC 2000
The M-component mode of charge transfer to ground is examined using (1) multiple-station measurements of electric and magnetic fields at distances ranging from 5 to ∼ 500 m from triggered-lightning channels and (2) measured currents at the channel base. Data have been obtained in 1997, 1999, and 2000 at the International Center for Lightning Research and Testing at Camp Blanding, Florida, for (1) “classical” M-components that occur during the continuing currents following return strokes and (2) impulsive processes that occur during the initial stage of rocket-triggered lightning and are similar to the “classical” M components. All lightning events considered here effectively transported negative charge to ground. For one triggered-lightning event the electric field 45 km from the lightning channel was measured together with the current and close fields. The shapes and magnitudes of the measured close electric and magnetic fields are generally consistent with the guided-wave mechanism of the lightning M component. Specifically, the M-component electric field peak exhibits logarithmic distance dependence, ln(kr−1), which is indicative of a line charge density that is zero at ground and increases with height. Such a distribution of charge is distinctly different from the more or less uniform charge density that is characteristic of the dart leaders in triggered lightning, as inferred from close electric field measurements. The M-component magnetic field peak decreases as the inverse distance (i.e., r−1), which is generally consistent with a uniform current within the lowest kilometer or so of channel. The M-component electric field at 45 km appeared as a bipolar, microsecond-scale pulse that started prior to the onset of the M-component current at the channel base. M-component-type processes can produce acoustic signals with peak pressure values of the same order of magnitude as those from the leader/return stroke sequences in triggered lightning.