Polarity Asymmetry in Lightning Leaders: the Evolution of Ideas on Lightning Behavior from Strikes to Aircraft


E. Williams (MIT), S. Heckman (Earth Networks)

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This study is concerned with outstanding questions on the mechanism of lightning and its theoretical treatment as a bidirectional leader. Previous studies of lightning strikes to aircraft are reviewed to highlight the key physical phenomena: the simultaneous action of both positive and negative leaders, the frequent tendency for electrical current in certain channels to cut-off abruptly, and the subsequent tendency for recoil leaders to initiate in these previously cut-off channels to establish a new stroke in the flash.