Analysis of blue corona discharges at the top of tropical thunderstorm clouds in different phases of convection
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We report on observations of corona discharges at the uppermost region of clouds characterized by emissions in a blue band of nitrogen molecules at 337 nm, with little activity in the red band of lightning leaders at 777.4 nm. Past work suggests that they are generated in cloud tops reaching the tropopause and above. Here we explore their occurrence in two convective environments of the same storm: one is developing with clouds reaching above the tropopause, and one is collapsing with lower cloud tops. We focus on those discharges that form a distinct category with rise times below 20 μs, implying that they are at the very top of the clouds. The discharges are observed in both environments. The observations suggest that a range of storm environments may generate corona discharges and that they may be common in convective surges.