Latitude and Topographical Dependence of Lightning Return Stroke Peak Current in Natural and Tower-Initiated Negative Ground Flashes

Experimental data show that the peak currents of first and subsequent lightning return strokes in negative ground flashes increase with decreasing latitude. In this paper, the reason for this dependence of peak return stroke current on latitude is explained using the fact that the height of the charge centers increases with decreasing latitude. Results show that in tropical regions where the height to the negative charge center is about 8 km, the median values of the first and the subsequent return stroke peak currents are about 42 kA and 15 kA, respectively. If the height to the charge center is larger than 8 km, the peak currents will also become larger. For example, if the location of the charge center is increased to about 9 km, the median values of the first and subsequent return stroke peak currents will increase to about 45 kA and 16 kA respectively. The same reasoning shows that, even in the same geographical region, the peak return stroke current may decrease as the elevation of the ground where the lightning strikes take place increases. The results also indicate that the peak subsequent return stroke current in tower‐initiated negative lightning flashes decreases as the height of the tower increases. These theoretical predictions are in general agreement with the available experimental data.

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Atmosphere, 11, 6, 560
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 Record created 2020-05-29, last modified 2020-10-29

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