Stroke, Lightning flash, Flash, Discharge?


METEORAGE uses several terms. This is what they mean:

  • Electrostatic discharge : : this refers to all the individual discharges detected by our network that compose a lightning flash. This involves all the strokes including the subsequent strokes as well as intra-cloud lightning
  • Lightning flash :this refers to the series of electrostatic discharges that propagate towards the ground or within clouds. This is referred to as cloud-to-ground lightning or intracloud lightning. When we use this terminology in our texts and publications, we are generally referring to the concept of a ‘flash’
  • Flash : this is the first return stroke of a lightning flash.
  • Stroke : this refers to all the return strokes of a lightning flash, i.e.: the first stroke and the subsequent strokes.


Hence, we use the term 'discharge' to describe everything our network is capable of detecting.

Thanks to the technological developments of recent years, and in particular the ability to detect intracloud lightning, the network locates up to 10 times more discharges than it did when it was created in 1987.

In our press releases and lightning strike reports, we prefer to use the term 'lightning flash', which allows us to make comparisons with past data, and usually corresponds to what the human eye perceives when it sees a lightning flash.

To find out more about the terminology : click here.

If you would like more information, contact us: