Severe thunderstorm and lightning climatology in Atlantic Canada

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Monday, 18 January 2010: 1:30 PM
B211 (GWCC)
Rick James Fleetwood, EC, Fredericton, NB, Canada

Severe thunderstorms with large hail, damaging winds, intense rainfall and tornadoes are more common in Atlantic Canada than most people realize. Over the last few years work has been carried out by Environment Canada, as part of the Atmospheric Hazards Network project, to catalogue and analyze the reported severe thunderstorm events over the last 15 plus years in Atlantic Canada. Analysis of the reported events helps establish the climatology of severe thunderstorms in the region. We look at the spatial and temporal distribution of events with specific emphasis on tornadoes (36 in the last 16-18 years). The analysis clearly establishes that severe thunderstorms and tornadoes are more common in some parts of Atlantic Canada than others. It also indicates when the activity is greatest both on a monthly and hourly basis and that this activity has significant variability from year to year and by event type.

Related Atmospheric Hazards work on lightning climatology in Atlantic Canada has also been done. This climatology is based on data from the Canadian Lightning Detection Network and work done by Bill Burrows of Environment Canada in Edmonton. In addition to establishing the seasonal and spatial distribution of lightning in the region since 1998, we take a more detailed look at the monthly and hourly distribution of lightning around the most populated centers in each province and rank them according to frequency.