Observations of Blue Discharges Associated With Negative Narrow Bipolar Events in Active Deep Convection

Feifan Liu, Baoyou Zhu, Gaopeng Lu, Zilong Qin, Jiuhou Lei, Kang Ming Peng, Alfred B. Chen, Anjing Huang, Steven A. Cummer, Mingli Chen, Ming Ma, Fanchao Lyu, Helin Zhou

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

33 Citations (Scopus)


On 19 August 2012, the Imager of Sprites and Upper Atmospheric Lightning on board the FORMOSAT-2 satellite captured a sequence of seven blue discharges within 1 min that emanated from a parent thunderstorm over Lake Taihu in East China. The analysis of lightning activity produced in the thunderstorm indicates that at least six of these events occurred in association with negative narrow bipolar events (NBEs) that were concurrent with the blue discharge by less than 1 ms, and negative cloud-to-ground occurred within 6 s before each blue discharge, which is in agreement with the modeling presented by Krehbiel et al. (2008). Therefore, the frequent occurrence of negative cloud-to-ground could provide the favorable condition for the production of blue discharges, and negative NBEs are probably the initial event of blue discharges. The detection of negative NBEs might provide a convenient approach to detect the occurrence of blue discharges as lightning bolt shooting upward from the top of energetic thunderstorms.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2842-2851
Number of pages10
JournalGeophysical Research Letters
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 28 Mar 2018


  • blue discharges
  • deep convection
  • narrow bipolar events (NBEs)
  • thunderstorm

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geophysics
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences(all)


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