32nd Conference on Broadcast Meteorology/31st Conference on Radar Meteorology/Fifth Conference on Coastal Atmospheric and Oceanic Prediction and Processes

Wednesday, 6 August 2003
Comparison between total measured volumes of various types of hydrometeors and total lightning activity during the STERAO 10 July 1996 storm
Wiebke Deierling, University of Alabama, Huntsville, AL; and W. Petersen, S. M. Ellis, H. J. Christian Jr., J. Latham, and J. E. Dye
Poster PDF (233.7 kB)
During the Stratospheric-Tropospheric Experiment: Radiation, Aerosols and Ozone (STERAO), which took place in Northern Colorado in the summer of 1996, polarimetric radar data from the Colorado State University (CSU)-CHILL radar were collected. Total lightning activity was recorded by the Office Nationale d’Etudes et de Recherches Aerospatiales (ONERA) 3-D lightning interferometer as well as cloud-to-ground lightning by the National Lightning Detection Network (NLDN).

These data were used to study the lifecycle of a severe storm observed on 10 July 1996. The storm showed lightning activity for approximately 4.5 hours. For the first 3 hours the storm had a multicellular character with several cells elongated along a confluence line. In its later stage it evolved into a low precipitation supercell storm with rotation at lower levels as well as a bounded weak echo, but not having a well defined precipitation shaft. The total lightning frequency peaked at over 50 flashes per minute in for both the multicellular and supercellular stage. This storm showed very little cloud-to-ground lightning and over most of its lifecycle the ratio of intra-cloud to total lightning was larger than 95%.

The National Center for Atmospheric Research’s (NCAR) Particle Identification Algorithm (PID) was used to characterize the microphysics of the storm relative to its electrical properties. For the PID comparison the total radar measured volumes of various types of hydrometeors were summed over the radar volume scan time. The time history of hydrometeor volume is then overlaid with 1minute total lightning activity. Results show that the peaks of hail volumes and total lightning activity fit well. The time series of ice volume and small hail/graupel volume also correlate well with total lightning activity.

Comparisons between total lightning and radar rainfall estimates and the storm-total radar measured volume of various types of hydrometeors estimated from PID will be presented. Additionally, the relationship between reflectivity and lightning is compared to the relationship of PID output and lightning.

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