85th AMS Annual Meeting

Monday, 10 January 2005: 11:45 AM
On the representation of two- and three-dimensional total lightning information
Jean-Yves Lojou, Vaisala, Meyreuil, France; and K. L. Cummins
The recent development of affordable two- and three-dimensional lightning mapping systems has resulted in the availability of vast amounts of lightning information with high spatial and temporal resolution. It is fair to say that our ability to detect and measure lightning discharges (driven by atmospheric electricity research) has exceeded our understanding of how to use it and how to represent it.

In an effort to view and explore these complex and information-rich data sets, we have developed a number of ways to represent lightning information. In this paper, we present the concept of “Flash Extent Density”, and illustrate the benefits of this representation as compared to source density or flash density. This data representation method employs a “branch segment” representation of high-resolution Total Lightning information, rather than the traditional “source point” representation. Various ways to simultaneously represent Total Lightning data and cloud-to-ground data are also presented. Cell-based data representations are compared to traditional display methods. We also present a new “synthetic” interactive data exploration tool that can be used to explore the relationship between lightning and other meteorological information. Finally, a unique storm animation tool is presented. This particular information representation method provides an easily-interpreted simultaneous display of storm/cell location, Total Lighting rate, and cloud-to-ground rate that can be accurately superimposed on a “base map” of geo-coded information such as terrain height, surface temperature, surface winds, and man-made infrastructure.

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