Modeling compact intracloud discharge (CID) as a streamer burst

Cooray, Vernon (Department of Engineering Sciences, Uppsala University, Uppsala, Sweden) ; Cooray, Gerald (Department of Neurophysiology, Karolinska Institute, Sockholm, Sweden) ; Rubinstein, Marcos (School of Management and Engineering Vaud, HES-SO // University of Applied Sciences Western Switzerland) ; Rachidi, Farhad (Electromagnetic Compatibility Laboratory, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (EPFL), Lausanne, Switzerland)

Narrow Bipolar Pulses are generated by bursts of electrical activity in the cloud and these are referred to as Compact Intracloud Discharges (CID) or Narrow Bipolar Events in the current literature. These discharges usually occur in isolation without much electrical activity before or after the event, but sometimes they are observed to initiate lightning flashes. In this paper, we have studied the features of CIDs assuming that they consist of streamer bursts without any conducting channels. A typical CID may contain about 109 streamer heads during the time of its maximum growth. A CID consists of a current front of several nanosecond duration that travels forward with the speed of the streamers. The amplitude of this current front increases initially during the streamer growth and decays subsequently as the streamer burst continues to propagate. Depending on the conductivity of the streamer channels, there could be a low-level current flow behind this current front which transports negative charge towards the streamer origin. The features of the current associated with the CID are very different from those of the radiation field that it generates. The duration of the radiation field of a CID is about 10–20 μs, whereas the duration of the propagating current pulse associated with the CID is no more than a few nanoseconds in duration. The peak current of a CID is the result of a multitude of small currents associated with a large number of streamers and, if all the forward moving streamer heads are located on a single horizontal plane, the cumulative current that radiates at its peak value could be about 108 A. On the other hand, the current associated with an individual streamer is no more than a few hundreds of mA. However, if the location of the forward moving streamer heads are spread in a vertical direction, the peak current can be reduced considerably. Moreover, this large current is spread over an area of several tens to several hundreds of square meters. The study shows that the streamer model of the CID could explain the fine structure of the radiation fields present both in the electric field and electric field time derivative.

Article Type:
Ingénierie et Architecture
IICT - Institut des Technologies de l'Information et de la Communication
27 p.
Published in:
Numeration (vol. no.):
2020, vol. 11, no. 5, article no. 549
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 Record created 2020-06-02, last modified 2020-06-11

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