Lightning parameters of sprites and diameter of halos over South Africa

D. C. Mashao, M. J. Kosch, M. Füllekrug, J. Mlynarczyk

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (SciVal)


Transient Luminous Events (TLEs) above thunderclouds have been previously associated with variables such as the lightning Charge Moment Change (CMC), charge height, charge transfer, and lightning current rise-time. We show for the first time a comparison of the CMC, rise-time, fall-time, peak electric field, and peak current of the lightning discharges associated with 11 column, 11 carrot, and 18 sprites with halo. We found that carrot sprites are induced by a lightning discharge with CMC, peak electric field, and peak current greater and less than that for column sprites and sprites with halo, respectively. Sprites with a halo are initiated by a lightning discharge with a longer rise-time and fall-time than that for column and carrot sprites. Column sprites top altitude and carrot sprites brightest region altitude positively correlate with lightning rise-time. For carrot sprites top altitude, the results suggest that the electrical breakdown region decreases in altitude for a longer fall-time, greater peak electric field, and greater peak current. For the altitude of the sprites brightest region, column sprites correlate negatively with lightning fall-time, peak electric field, and CMC, and column sprites top altitude also correlates negatively with lightning peak electric field. For sprites with a halo top altitude increased with lightning fall-time and peak current, and sprites with a halo brightest altitude increased with an increase in lightning CMC. Halo diameters correlate positively with lightning fall-time, peak electric field, and peak current. The investigated lightning parameters can be used to identify the initiated sprites morphological type when optics are not available.

Original languageEnglish
Article number105957
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Atmospheric and Solar-Terrestrial Physics
Early online date24 Sept 2022
Publication statusPublished - 28 Sept 2022


  • Lightning charge moment change
  • Lightning current
  • Lightning electric field
  • Lightning fall-time
  • Lightning rise-time
  • Transient luminous events altitude

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geophysics
  • Atmospheric Science
  • Space and Planetary Science


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