Electronic Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Ph.D. in Physics

First Advisor

Thomas Marshall

Second Advisor

Richard Gordon


University of Mississippi

Relational Format



In the first part of the study FA and Log-RF data were used to examine low-altitude (<8.0 km) negative NBEs (NNBEs) to see how many -CG flashes were initiated by NNBEs. Out of 686 -CG flashes only 33 (5%) flashes were initiated by an NNBE. These NNBEs occurred at an average altitude of 6.2 km had average amplitude (range-normalized amplitude to 100 km) of 0.4 V/m and had average VHF (Log-RF) power of 130 W. Since the low-altitude NNBEs were substantially weaker than positive NBEs that initiate intracloud (IC) flashes it is hypothesized that -CG flashes are easier to initiate than IC flashes. The second part of the study investigated the properties of 201 positive NBEs (+NBEs). The +NBEs were classified in two ways: into Types A-D [Karunarathne et al. 2015] and into three different groups: Isolated Not-isolated and IC flash-initiator or INBE [Wu et al. 2014]. The average VHF (Log-RF) power of NBEs within the A-D categories were 1.9 4 9.8 and 13.2 kW respectively while the powers for the Isolated Not-isolated and INBE categories were 10.1 4 and 10.1 kW respectively. The third study considered 34 NBEs that occurred close in space and time to each other: 13 pairs of NBEs one group of three +NBEs and one group of five +NBEs. The NBEs were overlaid on radar data of the parent thunderstorms. The data indicate that the individual NBEs in each group initiated in separate intense electric field regions of small extent rather than in a single large-scale electric field region. This dissertation investigates Narrow Bipolar Events (NBEs) which are a type of short-duration (10- 30 µs) lightning discharge. The study primarily used data from NBEs collected in 2016 at seven sensor sites within 50 km of Oxford Mississippi USA. Each sensor site had three electromagnetic antennas called Fast Antenna (FA) dE⁄dt and Log-RF with bandwidths of 0-2.5 MHz 0-1.0 MHz and 186-192 MHz respectively. NBEs are often isolated from other lightning events in thunderclouds but they sometimes initiate negative cloud-to-ground (-CG) and intracloud (IC) lightning flashes or they can occur during these flashes.

Included in

Physics Commons



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