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The initial stage of cloud lightning imaged in high-resolution
  • +21
  • O. Scholten,
  • Brian Hare,
  • J. Dwyer,
  • Chris Sterpka,
  • Ivana Kolmašová,
  • O. Santolík,
  • Radek Lan,
  • Ludek Uhlir,
  • Stijn Buitink,
  • A. Corstanje,
  • H. Falcke,
  • Tim Huege,
  • Joerg Hoerandel,
  • G. K Krampah,
  • P. Mitra,
  • K. Mulrey,
  • Anna Nelles,
  • Hershal Pandya,
  • Alex Pel,
  • Jörg P. Rachen,
  • S. thoudam,
  • T. N Trinh,
  • Sander ter Veen,
  • T. Winchen
O. Scholten
University of Groningen

Corresponding Author:o.scholten@rug.nl

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Brian Hare
University of Groningen
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J. Dwyer
University of New Hampshire
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Chris Sterpka
University of New Hampshire
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Ivana Kolmašová
Department of Space Physics, Institute of Atmospheric Physics, The Czech Academy of Sciences
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O. Santolík
Faculty of Mathematics and Physics, Charles University, Prague, Czech Republic
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Radek Lan
Department of Space Physics, Institute of Atmospheric Physics AS CR
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Ludek Uhlir
Department of Upper Atmosphere, Institute of Atmospheric Physics AS CR
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Stijn Buitink
Vrije Universiteit Brussel
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A. Corstanje
Radbound University Nijmegen
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H. Falcke
IMAPP, Radboud University Nijmegen,
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Tim Huege
Karlsruhe Institute of Technology
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Joerg Hoerandel
Radboud University Nijmegen
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G. K Krampah
Vrije Universiteit Brussel
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P. Mitra
Vrije Universiteit Brussel
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K. Mulrey
Vrije University Brussels
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Anna Nelles
University of Erlangen
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Hershal Pandya
Vrije Universiteit Brussel
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Alex Pel
University of Groningen
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Jörg P. Rachen
Vrije Universiteit Brussel
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S. thoudam
satyendra.thoudam@ku.ac.ae
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T. N Trinh
Can Tho University
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Sander ter Veen
ASTRON
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T. Winchen
Vrije Universiteit Brussel
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Abstract

With LOFAR we have been able to image the development of lightning flashes with meter-scale accuracy and unprecedented detail. We discuss the primary steps behind our most recent lightning mapping method. To demonstrate the capabilities of our technique we show and interpret images of the first few milliseconds of two intra-cloud flashes. In all our flashes the negative leaders propagate in the charge layer below the main negative charge. Among several interesting features we show that in about 2 ms after initiation the Primary Initial Leader triggers the formation of a multitude (more than ten) negative leaders in a rather confined area of the atmosphere. From these only one or two continue to propagate after about 30 ms to extend over kilometers horizontally while another may propagate back to the initiation point. We also show that normal negative leaders can transition into an initial-leader like state, potentially in the presence of strong electric fields. In addition, we show some initial breakdown pulses that occurred during the primary initial leader, and even during two “secondary” initial leaders that developed out of stepped leaders.