Study of 3-D total lightning activity relative to radar-inferred storm parameters

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Sunday, 17 January 2010
Exhibit Hall B2 (GWCC)
Aaron Preston, NOAA/NSSL, Norman, OK

This study of 3-D total lightning activity as it relates to radar-inferred storm parameters involves making time series plots of flash rates, time-height plots of flash initiations, as well as VHF source densities relative to times of severe weather. Two different supercell cases were studied for this project, the first of which occurred on February 10, 2009 and produced EF1 and EF2 tornados in Edmond, Oklahoma. It produced a maximum hail size of 2.75 diameter and had a lifecycle spanning from 1920 to 2110 UTC time. The second case took place on March 31, 2008 in which an EF0 and EF1 touched down in Oklahoma City. It produced a maximum hail size of 2.50 diameter and lasted from 0500 to 0700 UTC time. Both of these cases had hook echoes and showed the location of the tornado vortex signature in the radar images.

The Oklahoma Lightning Mapping Array (OK-LMA), as well as the KOUN dual-polarized radar data was used for this study. Each one of the LMA sites has an antenna that detects radiation from very high frequency (VHF) television channel 3, which is why they are referred to as vhf source points. The ultimate goal of this study was to better understand lightning structure and use this knowledge as an operational forecasting tool to better serve the public.