Second Conference on Meteorological Applications of Lightning Data


Electric field and lightning observations in the core of category 4 Hurricane Emily

Richard J. Blakeslee, NASA/MSFC, Huntsville, AL; and D. Mach, M. Bateman, and J. Bailey

Significant electric fields and lightning activity associated with Hurricane Emily were observed from a NASA high-altitude ER-2 aircraft on July 17, 2005 while this storm developed as a compact but intense category 4 hurricane in the Caribbean south of Cuba. The electrical measurements were acquired as part of the NASA sponsored Tropical Cloud Systems and Processes (TCSP) experiment. In addition to the electrical measurements, the aircraft's remote sensing instrument complement also included active radars, passive microwave, visible and infrared radiometers, and a temperature sounder providing details on the dynamical, microphysical, and environmental structure, characteristics and development of this intense storm. Cloud-to-ground lightning location data were provided and displayed in real-time from Vaisala's long range lightning detection network. These data and associated display also supported aircraft guidance and vectoring during the mission. During the observing period, flash rates in excess of 3 to 5 flashes per minute, as well as large electric field and field change values were observed as the storm appeared to undergo periods of intensification, especially in the northwest quadrant in the core eyewall regions. This is in contrast to most hurricanes that tend to be characterized by weak electrification and little or no lightning activity except in the outer rain bands. It should also be noted that this storm also had significant lightning associated with its rain bands.

Poster Session 2, Observational fusion and application of lightning data in the earth and Atmospheric Sciences
Tuesday, 31 January 2006, 9:45 AM-11:00 AM, Exhibit Hall A2

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