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On the mimimum length of leader channel and the minimum volume of space charge concentration necessary to initiate lightning flashes in thunderclouds
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Technology, Department of Engineering Sciences, Electricity.
2015 (English)In: Journal of Atmospheric and Solar-Terrestrial Physics, ISSN 1364-6826, E-ISSN 1879-1824, Vol. 136, no Part A, 39-45 p.Article in journal (Refereed) PublishedText
Abstract [en]

Minimum length to which a leader channel has to grow before it can propagate continuously as a stable leader as a function of the background electric field inside a thundercloud is estimated. For electric field magnitudes comparable to the values measured inside thunderclouds, the minimum length of the leader channel that is required for it to propagate continuously is about 3-5 m. In other words, a leader discharge that originated inside a thundercloud has to grow to a length of 3-5 m before it can culminate in a stable and continuously propagating leader discharge that can give rise to a lightning flash. The minimum size of charge concentrations that can make this event possible have radii in the range of 2-4 m and should carry about 300-900 mu C of electric charge, respectively. This in turn shows that the high field regions inside the cloud where electrical discharges that can culminate in stable leader discharges, and hence in lightning discharges, may be confined to volumes which are no larger than a few meters in radius.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2015. Vol. 136, no Part A, 39-45 p.
Keyword [en]
Lightning, Lightning initiation, Lightning leaders, Relativistic avalanche
National Category
Meteorology and Atmospheric Sciences Engineering and Technology
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-274294DOI: 10.1016/j.jastp.2015.09.008ISI: 000366789900007OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-274294DiVA: diva2:896249
Swedish Research Council, 621-2012-3300

Correction in: Journal of Atmospheric and Solar-Terrestrial Physics 142 p. 152-152. DOI: 10.1016/j.jastp.2016.02.016

Available from: 2016-01-20 Created: 2016-01-20 Last updated: 2016-07-15Bibliographically approved

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