The Structure of Lightning in Convective Storms in Varying Pre-Convective Environments during the Deep Convective Clouds and Chemistry Field Campaign
During the months of May and June of 2012 the Deep Convective Clouds and Chemistry (DC3) research campaign was conducted over the regions that included Colorado, northeastern Texas/southwestern Oklahoma and northern Alabama. The goal of this research campaign was to study convection throughout its lifetime in order to gain a better understanding on how it affects the chemistry throughout the atmosphere. Lightning observations were also gathered since such data are important role in the estimation of NOx compounds. The focus of this project will be on how pre-convective environments in the northern Alabama region affected the structure of lightning activity during convective events. The study looks at all days that operations were held in the northern Alabama region. Possible correlations between the case days' moisture and flow fields at 850 hPa and 500 hPa were analyzed using MERRA datasets as well as soundings generated from rawinsonde launches conducted by the University of Alabama, Huntsville mobile sounding unit. The data were compared to lightning data gathered using the Northern Alabama Lightning Mapping Array (NALMA), including flash counts and altitude of maximum flash density. ARMOR radar data were used to determine how heavy or light precipitation was during each convective event analyzed. The flash count of convective events within the region's research domain as well as the heights of the maximum flash densities is compared to the data gathered for the pre-convective environments to determine if there are any correlations between the environmental parameters and the structure of the lightning of lightning activity within the convection. Case days are being composited based on storm characteristics to determine if any correlations exist between the structure of lightning and pre-convective environments.