2018

Becerra M., M. Long, W. Schulz, R. Thottappillil:
On the estimation of the lightning incidence to offshore wind farms

Electric Power Systems Research 157, 211–22, 2018

Field observations have shown that the frequency of dangerous lightning events to wind turbines, caculated according to the IEC standard 61400-24:2010, is grossly underestimated. This paper intends to critically revisit the evaluation of the incidence of downward lightning as well as self-initiated and other-triggered upward flashes to offshore wind power plants. Three different farms are used as case studies.The conditions for interception of stepped leaders in downward lightning and the initiation of upward lightning is evaluated with the Self-consistent Leader Inception and Propagation Model (SLIM). The analysis shows that only a small fraction of damages observed in the analysed farms can be attributed to downward lightning. It is also estimated that only a small fraction (less than 19%) of all active thunder-storms in the area of the analysed farms can generate sufficiently high thundercloud fields to self-initiate upward lightning. Furthermore, it is shown that upward flashes can be triggered even under low thunder-cloud fields once a sufficiently high electric field change is generated by a nearby lightning event. Despite of the uncertainties in the incidence evaluation, it is shown that upward flashes triggered by nearby positive cloud-to-ground flashes produce most of the dangerous lightning events to the case studies.

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Hettiarachchi P., V. Cooray, G. Diendorfer, H. Pichler, J. Dwyer:
X-rays observations at Gaisberg Tower

Atmosphere, 9, 20; doi:10.3390/atmos9010020, 2018

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 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.

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