Remote Sensing, Modeling, and Spectroscopic Studies of Gigantic Jets and Lightning Leaders
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This dissertation focuses on four interrelated investigations with the ultimate goal of better understanding electrical phenomena in the lower and upper atmosphere. The four investigations utilized observations and data analysis for electrical discharges occurring in the troposphere, such as cloud-to-ground and intracloud discharges, and discharges occurring in the stratosphere/lower ionosphere, known as gigantic jets. The observations are from ground-based high-speed cameras and lightning locating systems, space-borne lightning imagers, and remote and in-situ meteorological instrumentation. Numerical modeling was also performed to study the lightning associated with gigantic jets by using a stochastic lighting propagation model. Finally, this dissertation focuses on the design and construction of a high-speed spectrograph that can be used for studying lightning and transient luminous events. Preliminary observations of lightning leaders using this state-of-art spectrograph will be presented and analyzed to characterize its performance for future observation campaigns.