Phenomenology of intracloud lightning leaders

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Sunday, 2 February 2014
Hall C3 (The Georgia World Congress Center )
Kelcy N. Brunner-Miller, University of Alabama, Huntsville, AL; and P. M. Bitzer and H. J. Christian

The purpose of this study is to examine the characteristics of intracloud (IC) lightning leaders. IC leaders have been nominally defined in the literature and energetic characterization of these leaders is not well understood. This study incorporates VLF measurements from the Huntsville Alabama Marx Meter Array (HAMMA), VHF measurements from the North Alabama Lightning Mapping Array (NALMA) and optical measurements from the Lightning Imaging Sensor (LIS). The relationships emerging between the peak electric fields, leader speed, pulse repetition and optical radiance are used to outline energetic characteristics of IC leaders from initiation to bi-level breakdown. The energetic extent of an IC leader may be somewhat stratified, this phenomenon is further explored and used to classify IC leaders in the context of defining leader characteristics.