Investigating the Application of Total Lightning Measurements to Diagnose Convective Turbulence

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Monday, 5 January 2015: 4:45 PM
225AB (Phoenix Convention Center - West and North Buildings)
Wiebke Deierling, NCAR, Boulder, CO; and J. K. Williams, S. A. Al-Momar, J. A. Craig, R. D. Sharman, M. Steiner, J. Krozel, and C. Kessinger

Convective-induced turbulence is of significant concern to aviation, as it impacts flight safety and airspace capacity. Over the continental United States, the Diagnose Convectively-Induced Turbulence (DCIT) system has been developed at the National Center of Atmospheric Research (NCAR) to provide a diagnosis of 3D convective-induced turbulence every 15 minutes. DCIT makes use of predictor variables that are based on Weather Research and Forecasting - Rapid Refresh configuration (WRF-RAP) model, radar, and geostationary satellite data and is calibrated/validated with in-situ Eddy Dissipation Rate (EDR) measurement data. This study compares lightning measurements with in-situ EDR data from the DCIT database to investigate if total lightning data can improve the temporal and spatial diagnosis of convective turbulence. Because in-situ EDR data lack continuous temporal and spatial coverage, and are biased by intentional pilot avoidance of turbulent areas, total lightning measurements are also compared to 3D in-cloud EDR estimates provided every 5 minutes by the NEXRAD Turbulence Detection Algorithm (NTDA). Statistical comparisons of total lightning with EDR from NTDA and in-situ data will be presented for different regions in the United States.

Total lightning measurements exhibit a high spatial and temporal resolution and will become readily available on hemispheric scales with the lightning mapper instrument implementation on GOES-R and Meteosat satellites. These global lightning measurements should prove very useful to enhance and extend DCIT, aiding identification of potentially hazardous convective turbulence over oceans and remote areas where other data are sparse or nonexistent.