Wavelet multiresolution based multifractal analysis of electric fields by lightning return strokes

Xueqiang Gou, Mingli Chen, Yijun Zhang, Wansheng Dong, Xiushu Qie

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)


Lightning can be seen as a large-scale cooperative phenomenon, which may evolve in a self-similar cascaded way. Using the electric field waveforms recorded by the slow antenna system, the mono- and multifractal behaviors of 115 first return strokes in negative cloud-to-ground discharges have been investigated with a wavelet multiresolution based multifractal method. The results show that the return stroke process, in term of its electric field waveform, has apparent fractality and strong degree of multifractality. The multifractal spectra obtained for the 115 cases are all well fitted to a modified version of the binomial cascade multifractal model. The width of the multifractal spectra, which measure the strength of multifractality, is 1.6 on average. The fractal dimension of the electric field waveforms ranges from 1.2 to 1.5 with an average of 1.3, a similar value to the fractal dimension of the lightning channel obtained by others. This suggests that the lightning-produced electric fields may have the same fractal dimension as its channel. The relationship between the peak current of a return stroke and the charge deposition in its channel is also discussed. The results suggest that the wavelet and scaling analysis may be a powerful tool in interpretation of the lightning-produced electric fields and therefore in understanding lightning.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)410-415
Number of pages6
JournalAtmospheric Research
Issue number2-4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2009


  • Cascade
  • Lightning
  • Multifractal
  • Multiresolution analysis
  • Return stroke
  • Wavelet

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Atmospheric Science


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