Rainfall-Lightning Ratio Calculations for Elevated Thunderstorms with Heavy Rainfall

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Wednesday, 7 January 2015
Joshua S. Kastman, University of Missouri, Columbia, MO; and P. S. Market and A. Foscato

Convective rainfall and lightning flashes have been shown to be well correlated by numerous studies. Research into rainfall-lightning relationships show that the frequency of lightning flashes can reveal areas of heaviest rainfall within a thunderstorm. Rainfall-lightning ratios (RLRs), also referred to as rain yields, are a measure of rainfall amount per cloud-to-ground (CG) lightning flash. The goal of this study is to establish a rain yield for elevated thunderstorms, specifically those that occur over a continental, mid-latitude location (Missouri). Results were compared to the climatological work done previously, as well as the results of numerous storm-based studies. The results found showed that elevated thunderstorms over Missouri had lower RLR values compared to a previous climatology, meaning more lightning flashes per rainfall amount than the climatology found. It was found that surface-based thunderstorms had a slightly higher RLR, showing that these storms had less lightning per rainfall than elevated thunderstorms.