Articles | Volume 18, issue 10
31 Oct 2000
31 Oct 2000

Charge analysis on lightning discharges to the ground in Chinese inland plateau (close to Tibet)

X. Qie, Y. Yu, X. Liu, C. Guo, D. Wang, T. Watanabe, and T. Ushio

Abstract. Since the summer of 1996, scientists from China and Japan have conducted a joint observation of natural cloud-to-ground lightning discharges in the Zhongchuan area that is located close to Qinghai-Xizang (Tibet) Plateau, China. It has been found that the long-duration of intracloud discharge processes, just before the first return stroke, lasted more than 120 ms for 85% of cloud-to-ground flashes in this area, with a mean duration of 189.7 ms and a maximum of 300 ms. We present the results of charge sources neutralized by four ground flashes and two intracloud discharge processes, just before the first return stroke, by using the data from a 5-site slow antenna network synchronized by GPS with 1 µs time resolution. The result shows that the altitudes of the neutralized negative charge for three negative ground flashes were between 2.7 to 5.4 km above the ground, while that of neutralized positive charges for one positive ground flash and one continuing current process were at about 2.0 km above the ground. The comparison with radar echo showed that the negative discharges initiated in the region greater than 20 dBZ or near the edge of the region with intense echoes greater than 40 dBZ, while positive discharge initiated in the weak echo region.

Key words: Meterology and atmospheric dynamics (atmospheric electricity; convective processes; lightning)