The amount of upward current provided to the ionosphere by a thunderstorm that appeared over the Kennedy Space Center (KSC) on July 11, 1978, is reexamined using an analytic equation that describes a bipolar thunderstorm's current contribution to the global circuit in terms of its generator current, lightning currents, the altitudes of its charge centers, and the conductivity profile of the atmosphere. Ground-based measurements, which were obtained from a network of electric field mills positioned at various distances from the thunderstorm, were used to characterize the electrical activity inside the thundercloud. The location of the lightning discharges, the type of lightning, and the amount of charge neutralized during this thunderstorm were computed through a least squares inversion of the measured changes in the electric fields following each lightning discharge. These measurements provided the information necessary to implement the analytic equation, and consequently, a time-averaged estimate of this thunderstorm's current contribution to the global circuit was calculated. From these results the amount of conduction current supplied to the ionosphere by this small thunderstorm was computed to be less than 25% of the time-averaged generator current that flowed between the two vertically displaced charge centers.
METEOROLOGY AND CLIMATOLOGY
Journal of Geophysical Research (ISSN 0148-0227); 99; D5; p. 10,653-10,661