Atmospheric Sciences Editors' Highlights

Polarization Measurements Probe the Physics of Lightning

A new measurement capability can detect the polarization of the radio frequency wave of lightning sources, which reveals different forms of lightning breakdown processes.

Source: Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres


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Our understanding of the basic physical processes involved in lightning discharges is rapidly and steadily increasing on a variety of fronts, ranging from laboratory and theoretical investigations to observational studies. Shao et al. [2018] take the ability to remotely sense lightning discharge processes to the next level by expanding interferometric VHF measurements to determine their polarization. This study valuably complements a broad range of observational and theoretical advances into the study of a fascinating variety of atmospheric electrical phenomena over the past several decades. The advances range from normally electrified storms and lightning discharges, to anomalously electrified storms and associated lightning, to fundamental questions about how lightning is initiated and a whole host of particular and new types of electrical breakdown and emanations.

Citation: Shao, X.‐M., Ho, C., Caffrey, M., Graham, P., Haynes, B., Bowers, G., et al [2018]. Broadband RF interferometric mapping and polarization (BIMAP) observations of lightning discharges: revealing new physics insights into breakdown processes. Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres, 123. https://doi.org/10.1029/2018JD029096

—Minghua Zhang, Editor-in-Chief, JGR: Atmospheres

Text © 2018. The authors. CC BY-NC-ND 3.0
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