Second Conference on Meteorological Applications of Lightning Data


Global distributions of thunderstorms based on 7+ years of TRMM

Daniel J. Cecil, Univ. of Alabama, Huntsville, AL

The Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) has observed more than a quarter of a million thunderstorms since its launch in late 1997. The unique suite of instruments - Precipitation Radar (PR), TRMM Microwave Imager (TMI), Lightning Imaging Sensor (LIS), and Visible / Infrared Scanner (VIRS) - allows examination of many characteristics of these thunderstorms. The extended lifetime of the TRMM mission allows increasingly robust thunderstorm statistics. Analysis of the thunderstorm distribions on seasonal and regional scales will be presented at the meeting.

The attached figure shows all the observed thunderstorms (various colors) and all the other precipitation features (gray) for the first seven years of TRMM. The black triangles represent storms with over 300 flashes per minute (as in Cecil et al. 2005). The greatest storm flash rates are found in Central and Sub-Sahel Africa and subtropical continental regions, although oversampling at high latitudes has not yet been accounted for in this figure.

Cecil, D.J., S.J. Goodman, D.J. Boccippio, E.J. Zipser, and S.W. Nesbitt, 2005: Three years of TRMM precipitation features. Part I: Radar, radiometric, and lightning characteristics. Mon. Wea. Rev., 133, 543-566.

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Session 5, Observational Fusion of Lightning Data in the Earth and Atmospheric Sciences II
Tuesday, 31 January 2006, 1:45 PM-3:00 PM, A307

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