11.5 Total lightning trend analysis of low-topped supercells across the Tennessee Valley

Wednesday, 13 October 2010: 11:30 AM
Grand Mesa Ballroom F (Hyatt Regency Tech Center)
Christopher J. Schultz, Univ. of Alabama, Huntsville, AL; and W. A. Petersen and L. Carey

Total lightning trends are useful in helping determine the potential severity of thunderstorms. The thunderstorm updraft is the key link between lightning production and observed severe weather. Many previous studies examining lightning production in the context of severe weather have been performed on supercell thunderstorms; i.e., thunderstorms with very high flash rates and large vertical extents. Herein, we examine a different part of the severe thunderstorm spectrum, namely, low-topped (LT) supercells. Specifically, we present a study of total lightning behavior observed in numerous LT supercells observed recently in northern Alabama as sampled by the Northern Alabama Lightning Mapping Array and radar. We pose one main question: do low-topped supercell thunderstorms produce enough total lightning to enable robust use of trending as an aid to the real-time forecasting of severe weather? We examine the environments, structure, and trends of total lightning within these thunderstorms ultimately to enhance the utility of the total lightning jump algorithm currently in development for the Geostationary Lightning Mapper (GLM) on the future Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite (GOES) Series-R satellite.
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