The radiation field wave forms produced by intracloud lightning discharge processes


  • Charles D. Weidman,

  • E. Philip Krider


The large-amplitude radiation field pulses produced by intracloud lightning discharge processes have been recorded with submicrosecond time resolution. The wave forms are distinctly different from those produced by return strokes in cloud-to-ground lightning, yet they are surprisingly alike within a discharge and in different discharges. The shapes tend to be bipolar, with two or three narrow, fast-rising pulses superimposed on the initial half cycle. Pulses with a positive initial polarity are usually produced in the several tens of milliseconds prior to the first return stroke in a cloud-to-ground discharge. Positive pulses tend to occur at regular intervals and have a mean full width of about 40±13 μs. Negative pulses are usually produced during isolated cloud discharges at more random intervals and have shapes similar to the positive pulses but with more variability. The implications of the field shapes and polarities for the physics of intracloud discharge processes are discussed.