This investigation is focused on groups of Narrow Bipolar Events (NBEs), defined as NBEs that occurred within 10 km horizontally and ±660 ms of a located, large-amplitude NBE from a dataset of positive NBEs that occurred in Mississippi thunderstorms. In two months only 15 groups were found, with a total of 31 positive and 4 negative NBEs. Each group had 2 to 5 NBEs; four groups had both positive and negative polarity NBEs. About half of the NBEs had typical values for range-normalized fast antenna (FA) electric field change magnitudes (4–15 V/m) and typical VHF powers (1000–45,000 W), but 17 NBEs had FA magnitudes 0.2–2.5 V/m, and 17 NBEs had VHF powers 30–900 W. Seven weak NBEs had FA magnitudes of 0.2–1.0 V/m and VHF powers of 30–100 W. These findings indicate that weak NBEs are more common than previously thought. None of the NBEs in groups initiated a lightning flash, and (with one possible exception) none of the later NBEs in a group were initiated by earlier NBEs in the group. The data of the NBE groups are consistent with the turbulence-extensive air shower (EAS)/relativistic runaway electron avalanche (RREA) mechanism, which states that each NBE occurs in a separate 1-km3 volume containing many small regions with electric field ≥3 MV/(m∙atm); an EAS/RREA passing through the 1-km3 volume initiates the positive streamers that comprise the NBE. Relative to thunderstorm radar reflectivity, 23 NBEs occurred in or above the reflectivity core, 10 NBEs occurred high in the storm anvil, and 2 NBEs occurred beside the storm core. We speculate that the occurrence of many of the NBE groups was associated with dynamically intense convection.
Bandara, S., Marshall, T., Karunarathne, S., & Stolzenburg, M. (2021). Groups of narrow bipolar events within thunderstorms. Atmospheric Research, 252, 105450. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.atmosres.2021.105450