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On the relationship between lightning peak current and early VLF perturbations

Salut, M.M. and Cohen, M.B. and Ali, M.A.M. and Graf, K.L. and Cotts, B.R.T. and Kumar, Sushil (2013) On the relationship between lightning peak current and early VLF perturbations. Journal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics, 118 (11). pp. 7272-7282. ISSN 0148-0227

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Lightning strokes are known to cause direct heating and ionization of the D region, some of which are detected via scattering of VLF transmitter signals and are known as Early VLF events. The disturbed ionosphere typically recovers in many tens of seconds. New experimental evidence is presented demonstrating that the scattering pattern and onset amplitude of Early VLF events are strongly related to both the magnitude and polarity of causative lightning peak current. Observations of Early VLF events at nine Stanford VLF receiver sites across the continental United States are combined with lightning geolocation data from the National Lightning Detection Network (NLDN). During January and March 2011, NLDN recorded 7769 intense lightning discharges with high peak currents (>100 kA) generating 1250 detected Early VLF events. We show that the size of the scattered field due to the ionospheric disturbance increases with the peak current intensity of the causative lightning discharge. The most intense peak currents of >+200 and <−250 kA disturb VLF transmitter signals as far as ∼400 km away from the lightning stroke. Early VLF event detection probability also increases rapidly with peak current intensity. On the other hand, the observed VLF amplitude change is not significantly dependent on the peak current intensity. Stroke polarity is also important, with positive strokes being ∼5 times more likely to generate Early VLF disturbances than negative strokes of the same intensity. Intense positive cloud-to-ground lightning discharges, especially when occurring over the sea, are also more likely to produce Early VLF events with long recovery (many minutes).

Item Type: Journal Article
Subjects: Q Science > QC Physics
Divisions: Faculty of Science, Technology and Environment (FSTE) > School of Engineering and Physics
Depositing User: Sushil Kumar
Date Deposited: 26 Jan 2014 23:33
Last Modified: 06 Jul 2016 21:37

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