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Corona discharges and their effect on lightning attachment revisited: Upward leader initiation and downward leader interception

Becerra, Marley
Atmospheric research 2014 v.149 pp. 316-323
electrical charges, lightning, physical models
Previous studies have suggested the possibility of using glow corona discharges to control the frequency of lightning flashes to grounded objects. In order to revisit the theoretical basis of this proposal, the self-consistent leader inception and propagation model – SLIM – is used together with a two-dimensional glow corona drift model. The analysis is performed to quantify the effect of glow corona generated at the tip of ground-based objects on the initiation and propagation of upward positive connecting leaders under the influence of downward lightning leaders. It is found that the presence of glow corona does not influence the performance of Franklin lightning rods shorter than 15m, while it slightly reduces the lateral distance of rods up to 60m tall by a maximum of 10%. Furthermore, the results indicate that it is not possible to suppress the initiation of upward connecting leaders by means of glow corona. It is found instead that unconventional lightning protection systems based on the generation of glow corona attract downward lightning flashes in a similar way as a standard lightning rod with the same height.