X-ray Observations at Gaisberg Tower

Pasan Hettiarachchi, Vernon Cooray, Gerhard Diendorfer, Hannes Pichler, Joseph Dwyer, Mahbubur Rahman
2018 Atmosphere  
We report the occurrence of X-rays at ground level due to cloud-to-ground flashes of upward-initiated lightning from Gaisberg Tower, in Austria, which is located at an altitude of 1300 m. This is the first observation of X-ray emissions from upward lightning from a tower top located at high altitude. Measurements were carried out using scintillation detectors installed close to the tower top in two phases from 2011 to 2015. X-rays were recorded in three subsequent strokes of three flashes out
more » ... three flashes out of the total of 108 flashes recorded in the system during both phases. In contrast to the observations from downward natural or triggered lightning, X-rays were observed only within 10 µs before the subsequent return stroke. This shows that X-rays were emitted when the dart leader was in the vicinity of the tower top, hence during the most intense phase of the dart leader. Both the detected energy and the fluence of X-rays are far lower compared to X-rays from downward natural or rocket-triggered lightning. In addition to the above 108 flashes, an interesting observation of X-rays produced by a nearby downward flash is also presented. The shorter length of dart-leader channels in Gaisberg is suggested as a possible cause of this apparently weaker X-ray production.
doi:10.3390/atmos9010020 fatcat:alobnmqahbfenlkyrn4zonpqam