8.1 Climatological Properties of Reported Cloud-to-Ground Lightning for Alaska from Several Lightning Locating Systems

Thursday, 10 January 2019: 8:30 AM
North 225AB (Phoenix Convention Center - West and North Buildings)
Jerome P. Charba, Meteorological Development Laboratory, Silver Spring, MD; and J. E. Ghirardelli, P. E. Shafer, F. G. Samplatsky, and A. J. Kochenash

Forest fires burn ten times more acreage in Alaska than any other US state and 93% of the burned area is from lightning-ignited fires (Wendler et al. 2010). Provision of up-to-date information on climatological properties of cloud-to-ground (CG) lightning and real time CG forecast products should support ongoing wildfire management efforts in the state. This study examines climatological properties of lightning across Alaska from statistical analyses of 2013-18 archived CG data from three ground-based lightning locating systems (LLSs). These LLSs consist of the Vaisala Global Lightning Network, merged data from the Earth Networks Total Lightning Network and University of Washington World Wide Lightning Location Network, and the Bureau of Land Management of the United States (US) Department of Interior and Alaska Fire Service Lightning Detection Network.

Statistical analyses of the 2013-18 historical lightning data archives from the three LLSs for interior Alaska target several objectives. These are to (1) describe diurnal, monthly, and geographical-topographical variations in reported lightning frequency, (2) assess the relative lightning detection performance of the three LLSs, and (3) assess the degree to which the three lightning data sets complement one another. The conference presentation will include results from these analyses and suggest strategies for how these LLS data sets could be applied to support development and real time issuance of automated, statistically-based convection and lightning forecast products for Alaska, similar to those presently being produced operationally for the conterminous US (Charba et al. 2017). Portions of this material are based upon work supported by the Joint Technology Transition Initiative (JTTI) Program within NOAA/OAR Office of Weather and Air Quality.

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