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In its first 2 years of operation, the ground-based Terrestrial gamma ray flash and Energetic Thunderstorm Rooftop Array (TETRA)-II array of gamma ray detectors has recorded 22 bursts of gamma rays of millisecond-scale duration associated with lightning. In this study, we present the TETRA-II observations detected at the three TETRA-II ground-level sites in Louisiana, Puerto Rico, and Panama together with the simultaneous radio frequency signals from the lightning data sets VAISALA Global Lightning Dataset, VAISALA National Lightning Detection Network, Earth Networks Total Lightning Network, and World Wide Lightning Location Network. The relative timing between the gamma ray events and the lightning activity is a key parameter for understanding the production mechanism(s) of the bursts. The gamma ray time profiles and their correlation with radio sferics suggest that the gamma ray events are initiated by lightning leader activity and are produced near the last stage of lightning leader channel development prior to the lightning return stroke.

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Journal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics

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