Advances in Atmospheric Sciences

, Volume 35, Issue 11, pp 1396–1414 | Cite as

Locating Parent Lightning Strokes of Sprites Observed over a Mesoscale Convective System in Shandong Province, China

  • Anjing Huang
  • Gaopeng LuEmail author
  • Hongbo Zhang
  • Feifan Liu
  • Yanfeng Fan
  • Baoyou Zhu
  • Jing Yang
  • Zhichao Wang
Original Paper


In this paper, we report the location results for the parent lightning strokes of more than 30 red sprites observed over an asymmetric mesoscale convective system (MCS) on 30 July 2015 in Shandong Province, China, with a long-baseline lightning location network of very-low-frequency/low-frequency magnetic field sensors. The results show that almost all of these cloud-to-ground (CG) strokes are produced during the mature stage of the MCS, and are predominantly located in the trailing stratiform region, which is similar to analyses of sprite-productive MCSs in North America and Europe. Comparison between the location results for the sprite-producing CG strokes and those provided by the World Wide Lightning Location Network (WWLLN) indicates that the location accuracy of WWLLN for intense CG strokes in Shandong Province is typically within 10 km, which is consistent with the result based on analysis of 2838 sprite-producing CG strokes in the continental United States. Also, we analyze two cases where some minor lightning discharges in the parent flash of sprites can also be located, providing an approach to confine the thundercloud region tapped by the sprite-producing CG strokes.

Key words

red sprites positive cloud-to-ground strokes (+CGs) mesoscale convective system (MCS) 


本文利用长基线闪电定位网中的超低频和低频磁天线观测到了2015年夏季中国山东省一次不对称中尺度对流系统(MCS)上空产生的30多次红色精灵(red sprite)瞬态发光事件, 并得到了红色精灵母体闪电的自主定位结果. 定位结果显示, 几乎所有红色精灵母体地闪(CG)回击都产生在MCS的成熟期, 主要位于MCS尾部层状云区, 这和北美与欧洲对产生sprite的MCS的研究结果一致. 对比红色精灵母体闪电的定位结果和全球闪电定位网(WWLLN)提供的定位数据, 发现WWLLN对于山东省强地闪回击的定位误差在10公里以内, 这和在美国大陆基于2838次红色精灵母体闪电的相关研究结果一致. 此外, 我们分析了两个可以定位舞蹈状红色精灵母体闪电中微小放电过程的个例, 提供了一种估算母体闪电在雷暴云中总放电区域的方法.


红色精灵 正极性地闪回击(+CGs) 中尺度对流系统(MCS) 


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We thank Prof. Qinghe ZHANG, Shandong University (Weihai), and Mr. Shiwei FAN, Xiguan Elementary School of Dingxiang County (in Xinzhou, Shanxi Province), for hosting the broadband magnetic sensor as the key component of LERP in China. This work was supported by the National Key Basic Research and Development (973) Program of China (Grant No. 2014CB441405), the Open Research Program of the Key Laboratory of Meteorological Disaster (Nanjing University of Information Science and Technology) of the Ministry of Education (Grant No. KLME1414), the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant No. 41574179), the Natural Science Foundation of Excellent Youth Program of China (Grant No. 41622501), and “The Hundred Talents Program” of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (Grant No. 2013068). The authors also wish to thank WWLLN (, a collaboration of more 40 universities and institutions, for providing the lightning location data.


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Copyright information

© Chinese National Committee for International Association of Meteorology and Atmospheric Sciences, Institute of Atmospheric Physics, Science Press and Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Anjing Huang
    • 1
    • 2
  • Gaopeng Lu
    • 1
    • 3
    • 4
    Email author
  • Hongbo Zhang
    • 1
  • Feifan Liu
    • 5
  • Yanfeng Fan
    • 6
  • Baoyou Zhu
    • 5
  • Jing Yang
    • 1
  • Zhichao Wang
    • 7
  1. 1.Key Laboratory of Middle Atmosphere and Global Environment Observation (LAGEO), Institute of Atmospheric PhysicsChinese Academy of SciencesBeijingChina
  2. 2.University of Chinese Academy of SciencesBeijingChina
  3. 3.Collaborative Innovation Center on Forecast and Evaluation of Meteorological DisastersNanjing University of Information Science and TechnologyNanjingChina
  4. 4.Key Laboratory of Meteorological Disaster of Ministry of EducationNanjing University of Information Science and TechnologyNanjingChina
  5. 5.School of Earth and Space SciencesUniversity of Science and Technology of ChinaHefeiChina
  6. 6.State Key Laboratory of Severe WeatherChinese Academy of Meteorological SciencesBeijingChina
  7. 7.Atmospheric Observation Center of Beijing Meteorological BureauBeijingChina

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