89th American Meteorological Society Annual Meeting

Tuesday, 13 January 2009: 2:30 PM
Lightning behavior and its dependence on storm kinematic and precipitation processes in Northern Alabama
Room 131A (Phoenix Convention Center)
Elise V. Johnson, Univ. of Alabama, Huntsville, AL; and W. A. Petersen
Numerous case studies and recent modeling studies have found that various metrics of updraft intensity appear to be reasonably well correlated to lightning production in thunderstorms, particularly severe thunderstorms. Indeed, the relationship between updraft and lightning flash rate is hypothesized to be the physical connection between a lightning "jump" signature and manifestations of severe weather such as tornadic activity. This study further examines this connection using a combination of dual-Doppler wind retrievals made with the UAH ARMOR dual-polarimetric and KHTX WSR-88D Doppler radar pair, together with northern Alabama Lightning Mapping Array (LMA) data. The dual-Doppler data were used to construct three-dimensional wind fields and the retrieved vertical velocity fields were subsequently compared to collocated total lightning flash rates observed by the LMA. Particular attention was paid to the timing of updraft pulses relative to changes in the flash rate, with the goal of assessing impacts on warning decision lead time. Results from the analysis of severe and non-severe thunderstorms in Northern Alabama will be presented including the EF-4 tornado producing supercell on 6 February 2008.

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