Atmospheric Sciences Editors' Highlights

Lightning Discharge Type Linked to Terrestrial Gamma‐Ray Flashes

For the first time, the connection between energetic in cloud pulse and terrestrial gamma‐ray flashes is confirmed in the Gamma-Ray Observation of Winter Thunderclouds experiment in Japan.

Source: Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres


Recent ground-based radio-frequency observations have identified a new class of in-cloud lighting discharge called “energetic in-cloud” pulses (EIP). The high peak electric currents of EIP pulses have led to prediction that they might be connected with Terrestrial Gamma-ray Flashes (TGFs). Observations by Wada et al. [2020] confirm this prediction. They move the connection of EIP with TGF from speculation to solid science. This allows for downward TGFs now to be analyzed using radio sensors only, a huge advance since their coverage area is much greater than that of ground-based gamma-ray sensors, hundreds of kilometers versus about two kilometers.

Citation: Wada, Y., Enoto, T., Nakamura, Y., Morimoto, T., Sato, M., Ushio, T., et al. [2020]. High peak‐current lightning discharges associated with downward terrestrial gamma‐ray flashes. Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres, 125, e2019JD031730.

—Minghua Zhang, Editor in Chief, JGR: Atmospheres

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