660 Analysis of Hurricanes Using Long-Range Lightning Detection Networks

Wednesday, 13 January 2016
Hall D/E ( New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center)
Benjamin Trabing, University of Oklahoma, Norman, OK; and J. Knaff

Handout (1001.8 kB)

The new GOES-R satellite will be equipped with the Geostationary Lightning Mapper (GLM) that will provide unprecedented total lightning data with the potential to improve hurricane intensity forecasts. Past studies have provided conflicting interpretations of the role that lightning plays in forecasting tropical cyclone (TC) intensity changes. With the goal of improving the usefulness of total lightning, detailed case studies of Isaac (2012), Odile (2014), and Blanca (2015) were conducted using two unique ground-based long-range lightning detection networks, the World Wide Lightning Location Network (WWLLN) and Earth Networks Total Lightning Network (ENTLN) with additional satellite and aircraft measurements. This analysis will provide greater details of the distribution of lightning within predefined storm features to highlight specific phenomena that large statistical studies cannot resolve.

Both WWLLN and ENTLN datasets showed similar patterns in total lightning that validates the independent use of either network for analysis. For the cases examined, results show that rapid intensification (RI) follows a burst of lightning in the eyewall when coinciding with a period of little environmental vertical shear. A secondary burst of lightning in the eyewall region indicated that the period of RI had concluded. A burst in lightning was observed in the eyewall just prior to eye formation in both the infrared and microwave imagery. Eyewall lightning bursts in low shear environments could be used as an indicator for TC intensification and improve forecasts to mitigate potential disasters.

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