A study of a large bipolar lightning event observed at the Säntis tower

Azadifar, Mohammad (School of Management and Engineering Vaud, HES-SO // University of Applied Sciences Western Switzerland) ; Rubinstein, Marcos (School of Management and Engineering Vaud, HES-SO // University of Applied Sciences Western Switzerland) ; Rachidi, Farhad (Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (EPFL), Lausanne, Switzerland) ; Rakov, Vladimir A. (Department of electrical and Computer Engineering, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL, USA) ; Diendorfer, Gerhard (Department of ALDIS, OVE Service GmbH, Vienna, Austria) ; Schulz, Wolfgang (Department of ALDIS,OVE Service GmbH, Vienna, Austria) ; Pavanello, Davide (School of Engineering, HES-SO Valais-Wallis, HEI, HES-SO // University of Applied Sciences Western Switzerland)

An unusual negative lightning flash was recorded at the Säntis Tower on June 15, 2012. The flash did not contain an initial continuous current typical of upward negative lightning, which is the most common type of event at the Säntis Tower. The flash contained four strokes, the last three of which were normal while the current associated with the first stroke resembled a Gaussian pulse with an unusually high peak value of 102.3 kA, a long risetime of 28.4 μs, and a pulsewidth of 53.8 μs, which was followed by an opposite polarity overshoot with a peak value of 8.5 kA. Our current records suggest the involvement of a long upward connecting positive leader in response to the approaching downward negative leader in the formation of this flash. Lightning location system (LLS) data indicate that a positive cloud-to-ground stroke occurred 1 ms prior to the first stroke of the flash. In this paper, we present a detailed description of the data associated with this event. Moreover, both a return stroke model and an M-component model are used to reproduce the far-field waveform of this bipolar stroke. The simulations result in a radiated electric field waveform that is similar to those of large bipolar events (LBEs) observed in winter thunderstorms in Japan. A sensitivity analysis of the used simulation models reveals that, by proper selection of the input parameters, all field waveform characteristics, except for the positive half-cycle width, can be made to fall in the range of LBE field characteristics reported in Japan.

Article Type:
Ingénierie et Architecture
IICT - Institut des Technologies de l'Information et de la Communication
Institut Énergie et environnement
11 p.
Published in:
IEEE Transactions on Electromagnetic Compatibility
Numeration (vol. no.):
2019, vol. 61, no. 3, pp. 796-806
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 Record created 2019-10-29, last modified 2020-10-27

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