LMA observations of upward lightning flashes at the Säntis Tower initiated by nearby lightning activity

A. Sunjerga; M. Rubinstein; N. Pineda; A. Mostajabi; M. Azadifar et al. “LMA observations of upward lightning flashes at the Säntis Tower initiated by nearby lightning activity,” Electr. Power Syst. Res., p. 106067, Dec. 2019, doi: 10.1016/j.epsr.2019.106067

Abstract: We present in this paper lightning current measurements, LMA (Lightning Mapping Array) data and fast antenna electric fields associated with upward flashes observed at the Säntis Tower during summer of 2017. The LMA network consists of six stations that were installed in the vicinity of the tower at distances ranging from 100 m to 11 km from it. Out of 20 LMA recorded flashes here we analyze in detail three so-called ‘other-triggered flashes’, triggered by preceding activity. Based on the lightning activity derived from the European Lightning Detection Network (EUCLID) in an area within 30 km from the tower and within a 1-s time window before the start of the upward tower flashes, only one out of 20 flashes was classified as ‘other-triggered’(OT). However, the investigations based on the LMA data reveal that 3 more flashes of the 20 analyzed were preceded by nearby activity and should therefore be classified as OT flashes. We analyze conditions conducive to the OT flashes, such as the charge structure of the clouds, polarity of preceding leaders and level of activity of the storm. The LMA source active time period was on average seven times higher for the OT flashes than that for self-initiated flashes.

A New Engineering Model of Lightning M Component That Reproduces Its Electric Field Waveforms at Both Close and Far Distances

M. Azadifar, M. Rubinstein, Q. Li, F. Rachidi, and V. Rakov, “A New Engineering Model of Lightning M Component That Reproduces Its Electric Field Waveforms at Both Close and Far Distances,” J. Geophys. Res. Atmospheres, vol. 124, no. 24, pp. 14008–14023, 2019, https://doi.org/10.1029/2019JD030796

Abstract: We present a new engineering model for the M component mode of charge transfer to ground that can predict the observed electric field signatures associated with this process at various distances, including (a) the microsecond-scale pulse thought to be due to the junction of in-cloud leaders and the grounded, current-carrying channel and (b) the ensuing slow, millisecond-scale pulse due to the M component proper occurring below the junction point.

Single-Sensor Source Localization Using Electromagnetic Time Reversal and Deep Transfer Learning: Application to Lightning

A. Mostajabi; H. Karami; M. Azadifar; A. Ghasemi; M. Rubinstein et al. “Single-Sensor Source Localization Using Electromagnetic Time Reversal and Deep Transfer Learning: Application to Lightning,” Scientific Reports. 2019-11-22. Vol. 9, num. 1. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-019-53934-4

Electromagnetic Time Reversal (EMTR) has been used to locate different types of electromagnetic sources. We propose a novel technique based on the combination of EMTR and Machine Learning (ML) for source localization. We show for the first time that ML techniques can be used in conjunction with EMTR to reduce the required number of sensors to only one for the localization of electromagnetic sources in the presence of scatterers. In the EMTR part, we use 2D-FDTD method to generate 2D profiles of the vertical electric field as RGB images. Next, in the ML part, we take advantage of transfer learning techniques by using the pretrained VGG-19 Convolutional Neural Network (CNN) as the feature extractor tool. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first time that the knowledge of pretrained CNNs is applied to simulation-generated images. We demonstrate the skill of the developed methodology in localizing two kinds of electromagnetic sources, namely RF sources with a bandwidth of 0.1–10 MHz and lightning impulses. For the localization of lightning, based on the experimental recordings in the Säntis region, the new approach enables accurate 2D lightning localization using only one sensor, as opposed to current lightning location systems that need at least two sensors to operate.

Analysis of the lightning production of convective cells

J. Figueras i Ventura, N. Pineda, N. Besic, J. Grazioli, A. Hering, O. A. van der Velde, D. Romero, A. Sunjerga, A. Mostajabi, M. Azadifar, M. Rubinstein, J. Montanyà, U. Germann, and F. Rachidi, “Analysis of the lightning production of convective cells,” Atmospheric Meas. Tech., vol. 12, no. 10, pp. 5573–5591, Oct. 2019

https://doi.org/10.5194/amt-12-5573-2019

Abstract: This paper presents an analysis of the lightning production of convective cells. The cells were detected by the MeteoSwiss Thunderstorms Radar Tracking (TRT) algorithm in the course of a lightning measurement campaign that took place in the summer of 2017 in the area surrounding the Säntis mountain, in the northeastern part of Switzerland. For this campaign, and for the first time in the Alps, a lightning mapping array (LMA) was deployed. In the first part of the paper, we examine the relationship between the intra-cloud (IC) and cloud-to-ground (CG) activity and the cell severity, as derived by the TRT algorithm, of a large dataset of cells gathered during the campaign. We also propose and analyse the performance of a new metric to quantify lightning intensity, the rimed-particle column (RPC) height and base altitude. In the second part, we focus on two of the most severe cells detected during the campaign that produced significantly different outcomes in terms of lightning activity. The paper shows that the newly proposed metric (RPC) seems to be a very promising predictor of lightning activity, particularly for IC flashes. Future lightning nowcasting algorithms should be probabilistic in nature and incorporate the polarimetric properties of the convective cells as well as the lightning climatology.

A Study of a Large Bipolar Lightning Event Observed at the Säntis Tower

M. Azadifar; M. Rubinstein; F. Rachidi; V. A. Rakov; G. Diendorfer et al. “A Study of a Large Bipolar Lightning Event Observed at the Säntis Tower,” IEEE Transactions on Electromagnetic Compatibility. 2019. Vol. 61, num. 3, p. 796-806. https://doi.org/10.1109/TEMC.2019.2913220

An unusual negative lightning flash was recorded at the Säntis Tower on June 15, 2012. The flash did not contain an initial continuous current typical of upward negative lightning, which is the most common type of event at the Säntis Tower. The flash contained four strokes, the last three of which were normal while the current associated with the first stroke resembled a Gaussian pulse with an unusually high peak value of 102.3 kA, a long risetime of 28.4 μs, and a pulsewidth of 53.8 μs, which was followed by an opposite polarity overshoot with a peak value of 8.5 kA. Our current records suggest the involvement of a long upward connecting positive leader in response to the approaching downward negative leader in the formation of this flash. Lightning location system (LLS) data indicate that a positive cloud-to-ground stroke occurred 1 ms prior to the first stroke of the flash. In this paper, we present a detailed description of the data associated with this event. Moreover, both a return stroke model and an M-component model are used to reproduce the far-field waveform of this bipolar stroke. The simulations result in a radiated electric field waveform that is similar to those of large bipolar events (LBEs) observed in winter thunderstorms in Japan. A sensitivity analysis of the used simulation models reveals that, by proper selection of the input parameters, all field waveform characteristics, except for the positive half-cycle width, can be made to fall in the range of LBE field characteristics reported in Japan.

Characteristics of different charge transfer modes in upward flashes inferred from simultaneously measured currents and fields

L. He; M. Azadifar; Q. Li; M. Rubinstein; V. A. Rakov et al.., “Characteristics of different charge transfer modes in upward flashes inferred from simultaneously measured currents and fields,” High Volt., vol. 5, no. 1, pp. 30–37, May 2019, https://doi.org/10.1049/hve.2019.0017

The authors present an analysis of different charge transfer modes during upward negative flashes. The analysis includes a total number of 94 pulses that occurred during two upward negative flashes recorded at the Säntis Tower. The pulses included 59 mixed-mode (MM) initial continuous current (ICC) pulses, 17 M-component-type ICC (M-ICC) pulses, 8 return-stroke pulses, and 10 classical M-component (MC) pulses. It is found that the initial stage of the flash is responsible for the largest share of the total charge transferred to the ground. Simulation results for the electric fields associated with the considered charge transfer modes are presented and discussed. Return stroke (RS) and MM pulses were simulated adopting the MTLE model, while MCs and M-ICC pulses were simulated using the guided wave model of Rakov et al. The simulated results are shown to be in good agreement with simultaneous records of electric fields measured at a distance of 15 km from the Säntis Tower. The inferred velocities for MCs and M-ICC pulses range from 2.0 × 107 to 9.0 × 107 m/s, and the corresponding junction point heights range from 1.0 to 2.0 km. The inferred pulse velocities for RSs and MM pulses range from 1.3 × 108 to 1.65 × 108 m/s. The inferred current attenuation constants of the MTLE model obtained in this study range from 0.3 to 0.8 km, lower than the value of 2 km previously suggested for RSs in downward flashes. The obtained results support the assumption that the mode of charge transfer to the ground giving rise to MM pulses is similar to that of RSs. The results are also in support of the generally assumed similarity between M-ICC pulses and classical MCs.

Polarimetric radar characteristics of lightning initiation and propagating channels

J. Figueras i Ventura et al., “Polarimetric radar characteristics of lightning initiation and propagating channels,” Atmospheric Meas. Tech., vol. 12, no. 5, pp. 2881–2911, May 2019, https://doi.org/10.5194/amt-12-2881-2019

In this paper we present an analysis of a large dataset of lightning and polarimetric weather radar data collected in the course of a lightning measurement campaign that took place in the summer of 2017 in the area surrounding Säntis, in the northeastern part of Switzerland. For this campaign and for the first time in the Alps, a lightning mapping array (LMA) was deployed. The main objective of the campaign was to study the atmospheric conditions leading to lightning production with a particular focus on the lightning discharges generated due to the presence of the 124 m tall Säntis telecommunications tower. In this paper we relate LMA very high frequency (VHF) sources data with co-located radar data in order to characterise the main features (location, timing, polarimetric signatures, etc.) of both the flash origin and its propagation path. We provide this type of analysis first for all of the data and then we separate the datasets into intra-cloud and cloud-to-ground flashes (and within this category positive and negative flashes) and also upward lightning. We show that polarimetric weather radar data can be helpful in determining regions where lightning is more likely to occur but that lightning climatology and/or knowledge of the orography and man-made structures is also relevant.

Analysis of a bipolar upward lightning flash based on simultaneous records of currents and 380-km distant electric fields

A. Mostajabi; D. Li; M. Azadifar; F. Rachidi; M. Rubinstein et al. “Analysis of a bipolar upward lightning flash based on simultaneous records of currents and 380-km distant electric fields,” Electric Power Systems Research. 2019. Vol. 174, p. 105845. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.epsr.2019.04.023

Abstract: In this paper, we present and discuss simultaneous records of current and wideband electric field waveforms at 380 km distance from the strike point associated with an upward bipolar flash initiated from the Säntis Tower. The flash contains 23 negative strokes and one positive stroke. The intervals between the groundwave and skywave arrival times are used to estimate ionospheric reflection heights for the negative return strokes using the so-called zero-to-zero and peak-to-peak methods. A full-wave, finite-difference time-domain (FDTD) analysis of the electric field propagation including the effect of the ionospheric reflections is also presented. FDTD simulation results are compared with the measured radiated electric field associated with the studied flash to evaluate the reference reflection height of the conductivity profile. It is also found that the ratio of the peak field to the current peak is about two times smaller for the positive pulse compared to negative pulses. This difference in the amplitudes can be attributed to a lower return stroke speed for the positive stroke compared to that for negative strokes, and also to the fact that the enhancement of the electric field due to the presence of the tower and the mountain might be more significant for negative pulses, which are characterized by faster risetimes compared to the positive one.

Free space publication laser telecommunication through fog

G. Schimmel, T. Produit, D. Mongin, J. Kasparian, and J.-P. Wolf, Optica 5, 1338 (2018) link

Abstract: Atmospheric clearness is a key issue for free space optical communications (FSO). We present an active method to achieve FSO through clouds and fog, using ultrashort high-intensity laser filaments. The laser filaments opto-mechanically expel the droplets out of the beam and create a cleared channel for transmitting high-bit-rate telecom data at 1.55 μm. The low energy required for the process allows considering applications to Earth–satellite FSO and secure ground-based optical communication, with classical or quantum protocols.