92nd American Meteorological Society Annual Meeting (January 22-26, 2012)

Wednesday, 25 January 2012
The Sensitivity of Lightning-Potential Forecasts to Microphysics in the WRF Model
Wiebke Deierling, NCAR, Boulder, CO; and J. C. Knievel, C. J. Kessinger, M. Steiner, and E. Nelson

Lightning is hazardous to the people and materiel involved in outdoor testing at the ranges of the U.S. Army Test and Evaluation Command (ATEC). At two ATEC ranges, White Sands Missile Range in NM and Redstone Test Center in AL, short-term predictions of lightning are being made with the National Center for Atmospheric Research's (NCAR's) Auto-Nowcaster, and longer-term forecasts of lightning potential are being made based on output from a mesoscale numerical weather prediction (NWP) system.

The NWP system, known as 4DWX (Four-Dimensional Weather System), uses the Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) Model as its predictive core and assimilates data through the Four-Dimensional Data Assimilation (FDDA) system. Lightning potential is predicted for each cell in 4DWX's computational grid, based on a fuzzy logic algorithm applied to simulated ice water path and to simulated updraft volume. Initial testing of this approach was based on a configuration of 4DWX that included the microphysical scheme developed by Lin et al.(1983). The authors are now exploring other model configurations to characterize how they affect predictions of lightning potential. The presentation will review results from several recent case studies.

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