14C.8 Climatology of Lightning in Tropical Cyclones as Observed by TRMM Lightning Imaging Sensor

Thursday, 19 April 2018: 3:15 PM
Champions ABC (Sawgrass Marriott)
Adrian Lopez, Florida International Univ., Miami, FL; and H. Jiang

Lightning has been identified as a valuable parameter to assess intensity changes in tropical cyclones (TCs). Even though lightning is an episodic event in TCs, previous studies have related lightning outbreaks to TC rapid intensification (RI) or weakening processes. Previous studies have also demonstrated that a gradual increase of precipitation in the up-shear quadrants could be an indicator of a RI event. This study uses the 16 years (1998-2013) of total lightning data from the Lightning Imaging Sensor (LIS) on board of the Tropical Rain Measuring Mission (TRMM) satellite. Compared with the ground-based lightning networks, the LIS instrument has a higher detection efficiency. It can also detect both intracloud (IC) and cloud-to-ground (CG) lightning while the ground-based lightning sensors only efficiently detect CG lightning. This study utilizes the LIS database to do a lightning climatology of TCs in the open-ocean environment for different TC-prone basins, TC intensities, and TC intensity change stages. Spatial lightning distributions relative to the environmental shear direction will be analyzed. Furthermore, the connection between lightning flashes and intensity change stages will be established to define a more accurate result on whether an intensification or weakening process follows a lightning outbreak in the TC inner core. Finally, the up-shear quadrants of RI storms will be examined to find a possible increase of flash counts or flash density in relation to the gradual precipitation increase found in another study.
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