Initial stage in lightning initiated from tall objects and in rocket-triggered lightning



[1] We examine the characteristics of the initial stage (IS) in object-initiated lightning derived from current measurements on the Gaisberg tower (100 m, Austria), the Peissenberg tower (160 m, Germany), and the Fukui chimney (200 m, Japan) and their counterparts in rocket-triggered lightning in Florida. All lightning events analyzed here effectively transported negative charge to ground. For rocket-triggered lightning the geometric mean (GM) values of the three overall characteristics of the initial stage, duration, charge transfer, and average current, are similar to their counterparts for the Gaisberg tower flashes and the Peissenberg tower flashes, while the Fukui chimney flashes are characterized by a shorter GM IS duration and a larger average current. The GM IS charge transfer for the Fukui chimney flashes is similar to that in the other three data sets. The GM values of the action integral differ considerably among the four data sets, with the Fukui action integral being the largest. The observed differences in the IS duration between the Fukui data set and all other data considered here are probably related to the differences in the lower current limits, while the differences in the action integral cannot be explained by the instrumental effects only. There appear to be two types of initial stage in upward lightning. The first type exhibits pulsations (ringing) during the initial portion of the IS, and the second type does not. The occurrence of these types of IS appears to depend on geographical location. The characteristics of pulses superimposed on the initial continuous current (ICC pulses) in object-initiated (Gaisberg, Peissenberg, and Fukui) lightning are similar within a factor of 2 but differ more significantly from their counterparts in rocket-triggered lightning. Specifically, the ICC pulses in object-initiated lightning exhibit larger peaks, shorter risetimes, and shorter half-peak widths than do the ICC pulses in rocket-triggered lightning.