A study of the context in which compact intracloud discharges occur
The occurrence context of compact intracloud discharges (CIDs) is examined using their electric field waveforms and corresponding NLDN data. A total of 1096 CIDs transporting negative charge upward and 8 CIDs transporting positive charge upward were analyzed. The CIDs were categorized based on whether they were isolated or were followed, preceded, or both followed and preceded by other NLDN-reported lightning events. The percentages of isolated CIDs transporting negative charge upward decreased from 92% for 5 km search radius and +/- 10 ms time window to 31% for 10 km and +/- 1000 ms, this decrease being accompanied by an increase of the percentage of CIDs preceding (initiating) normal lightning events from 6.8% to 43%. GM NLDN-reported peak currents for isolated CIDs (33 kA) were similar to those initiating normal lightning events (34 kA). Some of our isolated CIDs could be viewed as precursors, because they apparently initiated normal lightning events at essentially the same location after time intervals measured in seconds. CIDs transporting positive charge upward (a) occurred at heights ranging from 16 to 19 km vs. 6 to 16 km for CIDs transporting negative charge upward and (b) had considerably higher NLDN-reported peak currents: 113 kA vs. 33 kA (GM values).