440 Capabilities and Limitations of New Lightning Data Sets in Operations

Monday, 11 January 2016
Doug T. Kahn, University of Maryland, College Park, MD; and S. D. Rudlosky

Knowledge of lightning detection network capabilities becomes more important as both the number of networks and variety of users increase. Operational weather forecast offices receive several lightning data sets in real time, and use these data to help improve convective weather forecasts. Lightning generates electromagnetic pulses that propagate as radio waves in all directions. These lightning emissions generally range from very-high frequency (VHF) and high-frequency (HF), to very-low frequency (VLF) and low-frequency (LF) emissions. Several ground-based networks monitor various portions of these frequency ranges to locate and characterize both cloud-to-ground (CG) and intra-cloud (IC) lightning. This study uses the Warning Decision Support System Integrated Information (WDSS-II) to visualize lightning observations from the Washington D.C. Lightning Mapping Array (DCLMA), Earth Networks Total Lightning Network (ENTLN), and National Lightning Detection Network (NLDN). These lightning data are examined alongside radar and model-derived parameters to track and characterize convective storms. This study explores relationships between the ground-based lightning observations, focusing on significant convective weather outbreaks in the DCLMA domain (i.e., Washington D.C., Maryland, and Virginia region). These visualizations and statistics aim to advise National Weather Service (NWS) forecasters on the real-time application of lightning data in operations.
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