Triggering Lightning Experiments: an Effective Approach to the Research of Lightning Physics


X. Qie, R. Jiang (LAGEO), P. Laroche (Onera)

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Artificial triggering lightning experiments by launching a small rocket trailing a thin wire toward a charged cloud overhead have been conducted since the 1960s. After decades of development, this has become an important means for investigating lightning physics and validating lightning protection and location techniques. Observations of the triggered lightning have provided considerable new insights into different aspects of lightning discharges. This paper presents an overview of worldwide artificial triggering lightning experiments by means of the rocket-and-wire technique. Some valuable results, including properties of upward positive leader (UPL), observational evidence for the leader stepping mechanism, return stroke currents, M component properties, and energetic radiation associated with the lightning discharges, are briefly reviewed.