Recoil leader formation and development Academic Article uri icon


  • The existing interpretation in the lightning literature, based on field measurements, defines recoil leaders as negative leaders. However recoil leaders are floating conductors, and, based on this physical assumption, they should be defined as bipolar and bidirectional leaders. This physics-based assumption has never previously been verified experimentally. Such verification, reported in this paper, has been obtained from observations of branched upward positive leaders from a tall tower using a high-speed video system synchronized with electric and magnetic field change and luminosity measurements on the ground. The analysis of these observations clearly reveals the nature of recoil and dart leaders as bidirectional and bipolar electrodeless discharges that develop from a small region along a path of the decayed channels of a previous positive leader, or a positively charged return stroke of negative CG flashes. 2013.

published proceedings


altmetric score

  • 0.25

author list (cited authors)

  • Mazur, V., Ruhnke, L. H., Warner, T. A., & Orville, R. E.

citation count

  • 45

complete list of authors

  • Mazur, Vladislav||Ruhnke, Lothar H||Warner, Tom A||Orville, Richard E

publication date

  • August 2013