S89 Lightning Characteristics of Tropical Cyclones

Sunday, 6 January 2013
Exhibit Hall 3 (Austin Convention Center)
Casey D. McClure, Metropolitan State University, Denver, CO

In the tropical oceans, most convective systems produce slightly weaker vertical motions than their continental cousins. Vertical motions encountered in tropical cyclones appear to be weaker despite having an extreme horizontal wind flow, and the magnitudes seem to be similar to those found in ordinary oceanic convection. Normally, the vertical motions in tropical cyclone convection are strong enough to keep ice particles and/or supercooled raindrops suspended above the melting level, but the electrical fields inside the clouds seem to be too weak to produce much lightning. This study is aimed to approach tropical cyclone electrification utilizing different perspectives. First, radar reflectivity and ice scattering are examined in the context of cloud electrification for Hurricane Irene, which is notable for its abnormal landfall location. Second, a comparison of thunderstorm characteristics for a tropical cyclone (Hurricane Ivan) and a continental cyclone (the April 2011 Tornado Outbreak) provides an interesting comparison given that they both affected the same geographic area. Finally, a comparative study of Tropical Storm Allison and Hurricane Rita examines the role of storm intensity on cloud electrification.
- Indicates paper has been withdrawn from meeting
- Indicates an Award Winner