On Lightning Electromagnetic Field Propagation Along an Irregular Terrain
In this paper, we present a theoretical analysis of the propagation effects of lightning electromagnetic fields over a mountainous terrain. The analysis is supported by experimental observations consisting of simultaneous records of lightning currents and electric fields associated with upward negative lightning flashes to the instrumented Santis tower in Switzerland. The propagation of lightning electromagnetic fields along the mountainous region around the Santis tower is simulated using a full-wave approach based on the finite-difference time-domain method and using the two-dimensional topographic map along the direct path between the tower and the field measurement station located at about 15 km from the tower. We show that, considering the real irregular terrain between the Santis tower and the field measurement station, both the waveshape and amplitude of the simulated electric fields associated with return strokes and fast initial continuous current pulses are in excellent agreement with the measured waveforms. On the other hand, the assumption of a flat ground results in a significant underestimation of the peak electric field. Finally, we discuss the sensitivity of the obtained results to the assumed values for the return stroke speed and the ground conductivity, the adopted return stroke model, as well as the presence of the building on which the sensors were located.