Optical power and energy radiated by return strokes in rocket-triggered lightning
AffiliationUniv Arizona, Inst Atmospher Phys
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherAMER GEOPHYSICAL UNION
CitationOptical power and energy radiated by return strokes in rocket-triggered lightning 2017, 122 (16):8816 Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres
Rights©2017. American Geophysical Union. All Rights Reserved.
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AbstractThe broadband optical radiation covering the visible and near-infrared (VNIR) spectral regions (0.4-1.0 mu m) has been measured from 70 negative return strokes (RS) in rocket-triggered lightning; 17 events were recorded in 2011, and 53 were recorded in 2012. The radiometers were calibrated, and all measurements were time-correlated with currents measured at the channel base. The risetime and peak of an irradiance waveform are determined primarily by the RS current and by the geometrical growth and total length of channel that is in the field of view of the sensor. Following an initial peak, the irradiance decays faster than the current until there is a plateau or secondary maximum 20 to 40 mu s (median of 22 mu s) after the peak current, a time when the current itself is steadily decreasing. Estimates of the space-and time-average optical power per unit length (l(o)) that is emitted at the source during onset of RS have been computed using the measured slopes of 70 irradiance waveforms together with an assumption that the initial speed of propagation is 1.2 x 10(8) m/s. The values range from 0.25 to 9.5 MW/m, with a mean and standard deviation of 2.4 +/- 1.7 MW/m, and they are in good agreement with prior estimates of l(o) that were made by Quick and Krider (2013) for the subsequent return strokes in natural lightning that reilluminate a preexisting channel. The values of l(o) also agree with numerical estimates of the VNIR power per unit length that were computed by Paxton et al. (1986). Estimates of the peak optical power per unit length (l(R)) that is radiated at the source have been derived from the peaks of 53 irradiance waveforms, and the values range from 0.4 to 11 MW/m with a mean and standard deviation of 4.2 +/- 2.5 MW/m. Both l(o) and l(R) are approximately proportional to the square of the peak current at the channel base. Estimates of the total optical energy per unit length, J(o), that is radiated in the VNIR have been computed by integrating the irradiance waveforms over 2 ms. The values of J(o) have a mean and standard deviation of 150 +/- 140 J/m, and they are proportional to the total charge that is transported to ground in that interval. Plain Language Summary In order to understand the energy distribution of a lightning return stroke, we have built a set of radiometers to measure the power and energy emitted in the visible and near-infrared wavelengths by lightning triggered with a rocket and trailing wire. By recording the emitted power with a high time resolution of 100 ns, we are able to resolve the light impulse created by a lightning return stroke and compare it to the current impulse measured at the channel base. We find that rocket-triggered lightning has comparable power and energy to some natural lighting and that correlations exist between the current that traverses the channel and the light that is emitted by the channel.
Note6 month embargo; Published online: 27 Aug 2017.
VersionFinal published version
SponsorsNIMBUS program at the University of Florida [DARPA-BAA-10-18]