A link between terrestrial gamma-ray flashes and intracloud lightning discharges

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Abstract

[1] Atmospheric electric field change (sferic) waveforms were detected at Los Alamos Sferic Array stations in association with terrestrial gamma-ray flashes (TGFs). Five TGF sferic waveforms detected at sufficiently close range were all found to be consistent with a positive-polarity intracloud (+IC) discharge process which transported electrons upward. The amplitudes of the events were among the top 5% of IC discharge flashes. Altitudes obtained from ionosphere reflections for two of the closer events were found to be 13.6 km and 11.5 km. These altitudes are lower than expected if one assumes that the sferic was near the source of the gamma-rays. One of the sferics was an energetic narrow bipolar event which occurred near the inferred onset of a flash, suggesting that the preceding TGF may correspond to the actual onset.

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