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


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

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.

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