Tuesday, 11 January 2005
Cloud-to-ground lightning behavior of convective cells observed during STEPS
As a result of recent climatological studies indicating a regional maximum of positive CG lightning in the U.S. High Plains, the Severe Thunderstorm Electrification and Precipitation Study (STEPS) was established to investigate storms in this region. In addition, several studies have suggested that storm environment may have an influence on CG lightning production and flash polarity, and it has been noted that positive CG lightning is commonly observed in severe storms. STEPS provided an excellent dataset for advancing our understanding of electrification mechanisms, possible controls on CG polarity, and the relationships between lightning and severe storm attributes. With these advancements, lightning data may become a useful severe storm nowcasting tool. The goal of this study is to characterize the CG lightning activity of storms that were observed during the STEPS field campaign. National Lightning Detection Network (NLDN) CG lightning data, NEXRAD radar data, and National Climatic Data Center severe storm reports, were used to examine the CG lightning behavior relative to storm severity for a number of storms observed during STEPS. Rapid Update Cycle (RUC) data was also used in order to study surface equivalent potential temperature and cloud base height patterns relative to the CG strike locations and flash polarity.
Supplementary URL: http://radarmet.atmos.colostate.edu/~saraht/STEPS/Thetae.html