800 Hurricane Intensity Forecasting Using ENGLN Lightning Data

Tuesday, 9 January 2018
Exhibit Hall 3 (ACC) (Austin, Texas)
Saiadithya Cumbulam Thangaraj, Earth Networks, Germantown, MD; and J. Lapierre and M. Stock

The 2017 hurricane season has been one of the most active seasons in history, and rising global temperatures suggest that future seasons will continue in this manner. It is therefore imperative that we take advantage of all available data and provide the most accurate forecasts to help mitigate the impact from these storms. It has been shown that sudden increases in lightning activity in the eyewall may provide a useful forecast tool for intensification of hurricanes. In this study, we use lightning data from the Earth Networks Global Lightning Network (ENGLN) to analyze lightning activity during several hurricanes from the 2017 season. For example, Maria, a devastating Category 5 storm, suddenly intensified from a Category 1 to Category 5 storm between the morning and evening of September 18th. Just before this intensification, we observe a large increase in lightning activity occurring in the eyewall of Maria. We also observe many more smaller peaks in lightning activity at other times throughout the lifetime of Maria. We present these results as well as apply a similar analysis for several other hurricanes occurring during the 2017 hurricane season.
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