TJ14.4 Exploring the Relationship between Continuing Current in Lightning and Wildfire Initiation

Tuesday, 8 January 2019: 3:45 PM
North 231AB (Phoenix Convention Center - West and North Buildings)
Sarah I. Fairman, Univ. of Alabama in Huntsville, Huntsville, AL; and P. M. Bitzer

Typically, the current in a lightning stroke will flow for on the order of a millisecond. Occasionally, the current can last for tens to hundreds of milliseconds, known as continuing current (CC) lightning. The resulting uninterrupted charge flow associated with cloud-to-ground strokes with CC is known to be related to wildfire initiation. Since current flow is accompanied by continuous optical emission, space-based optical observations in lightning, such as those collected by the Geostationary Lightning Mapper (GLM), provide an ideal way to detect CC lightning. Using GLM, electric field change meters, and high speed video, a logistic regression model is built to quantify the probability a particular set of GLM attributes correspond to CC lightning. In this manner, an initial estimate of the probability that a lightning discharge will initiate a wildfire is provided. Preliminary work incorporating various satellite data utilized to further refine the probability of an ignition, such as precipitation presence and atmospheric conditions at the time of a stroke, will also be discussed.
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