85th AMS Annual Meeting

Tuesday, 11 January 2005: 11:30 AM
Lightning produced by cold season oceanic extratropical cyclones: Observations related to nowcasting storm development, intensity and precipitation amounts
Nicholas W. S. Demetriades, Vaisala, Inc., Tucson, AZ; and R. L. Holle
Poster PDF (407.8 kB)
Large amounts of lightning are often produced by oceanic extratropical cyclones that occur during the cold season over the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. Vaisala’s VLF Long Range Lightning Detection Network can monitor lightning activity over the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans for many 1000s of kilometers from sensors located in North America, Europe and Asia. The detection of lightning within cold season, oceanic extratropical cyclones has shown that the development of lightning within these storms is often an indicator of future storm development, intensification and precipitation intensity.

In this paper, we will review some of the literature related to the effects of oceanic convection and latent heat release on extratropical cyclogenesis and discuss the role lightning can play in identifying these areas. New applications will be presented that involve the ability of lightning data to help identify important features such as short-wave troughs. Lightning development during rapid intensification of oceanic extratropical cyclones will also be discussed. VLF lightning data, GOES infrared satellite images and archived surface maps from the University of Wyoming’s internet weather page will be used to show examples of many of these applications.

Another topic that will be covered in this paper is the ability of excessive lightning activity along a cold front to help identify deep tropical moisture that is transported into the cold sector of a storm, causing large amounts of winter precipitation (snow, sleet, freezing rain and rain). The Presidents’ Day Snowstorm of 2003 will be shown as a good example of a storm that produced excessive lightning activity along its cold front and large amounts of snowfall.

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