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Measurements of atmospheric electric field made below two thunderstorms show that all lightning discharges occurring in the dissipating stage of a thunderstorm occur at almost the same value of the predischarge electric field at the ground surface. The observation is explained on the basis of the shielding of the electric fields generated by the positive charge in the downdrafts by the negative charge in the screening layers formed around them in the subcloud layer. Our observations suggestdoi:10.1007/s12040-013-0269-z fatcat:kvxiv5bx3rfhhl5kpdcmxypn6a