The objective of the study is to experimentally determine the information content of lightning optical emissions through clouds. Clouds affect the amplitude of lightning signals and the apparent dimensions of the optical source. Multiple scattering from the cloud media also alters the shape of the temporal profile of the lightning signal. The goal is to provide accurate estimates of the arrival time delay and temporal pulse width broadening of output signals emitted from clouds for different cloud and lightning parameters. Experiments conducted in the laboratory yield a temporally broadened pulse with an overall decrease in the peak and a delay in the pulse rise time. Parameters such as optical thickness of the cloud medium and the scattering coefficients are varied to simulate different cloud properties. The experimental results are compared with a transient radiative transfer formulation solved using the discrete ordinate method. The practical implications of this research will be improved reliability on prediction of weather conditions, defence applications and geophysical app atmospheric studies.


Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

Keywords and Phrases

Amplitude; Lightning Optical Emissions; Optics

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)


Document Type

Article - Journal

Document Version

Final Version

File Type





© 2006 American Institute of Physics (AIP), All rights reserved.

Publication Date

01 Jan 2006