TITLE

Environmental Control of Cloud-to-Ground Lightning Polarity in Severe Storms

AUTHOR(S)
Carey, Lawrence D.; Buffalo, Kurt M.
PUB. DATE
April 2007
SOURCE
Monthly Weather Review;Apr2007, Vol. 135 Issue 4, p1327
SOURCE TYPE
Academic Journal
DOC. TYPE
Article
ABSTRACT
In this study, it is hypothesized that the mesoscale environment can indirectly control the cloud-to-ground (CG) lightning polarity of severe storms by directly affecting their structural, dynamical, and microphysical properties, which in turn directly control cloud electrification and ground flash polarity. A more specific hypothesis, which has been supported by past observational and laboratory charging studies, suggests that broad, strong updrafts and associated large liquid water contents in severe storms lead to the generation of an inverted charge structure and enhanced +CG lightning production. The corollary is that environmental conditions favoring these kinematic and microphysical characteristics should support severe storms generating an anomalously high (>25%) percentage of +CG lightning (i.e., positive storms) while environmental conditions relatively less favorable should sustain storms characterized by a typical (≤25%) percentage of +CG lightning (i.e., negative storms). Forty-eight inflow proximity soundings were analyzed to characterize the environment of nine distinct mesoscale regions of severe storms (4 positive and 5 negative) on 6 days during May–June 2002 over the central United States. This analysis clearly demonstrated significant and systematic differences in the mesoscale environments of positive and negative storms, which were consistent with the stated hypothesis. When compared to negative storms, positive storms occurred in environments associated with a drier low to midtroposphere, higher cloud-base height, smaller warm cloud depth, stronger conditional instability, larger 0–3 km AGL wind shear, stronger 0–2 km AGL storm relative wind speed, and larger buoyancy in the mixed-phase zone, at a statistically significant level. Differences in the warm cloud depth of positive and negative storms were by far the most dramatic, suggesting an important role for this parameter in controlling CG lightning polarity. In this study, strong correlations between the mesoscale environment and CG lightning polarity were demonstrated. However, causality could not be verified due to a lack of in situ observations to confirm the hypothesized microphysical, dynamical, and electrical responses to variations in environmental conditions that ultimately determined the dominant CG polarity. Future observational field programs and cloud modeling studies should focus on these critical intermediary processes.
ACCESSION #
25305532

 

Related Articles

  • TELEX The Thunderstorm Electrification and Lightning Experiment. MacGorman, Donald R.; Rust, W. David; Schuur, Terry J.; Biggerstaff, Michael I.; Straka, Jerry M.; Ziegler, Conrad L.; Mansell, Edward R.; Bruning, Eric C.; Kuhlman, Kristin M.; Lund, Nicole R.; Biermann, Nicholas S.; Payne, Clarke; Carey, Larry D.; Krehbiel, Paul R.; Rison, William; Eack, Kenneth B.; Beasley, William H. // Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society;Jul2008, Vol. 89 Issue 7, p997 

    The article discusses the Thunderstorm Electrification and Lightning Experiment (TELEX) conducted by researchers and students from federal and university organizations in May-June 2003 and 2004 in central Oklahoma. The field experiment provides a comprehensive datasets needed to investigate the...

  • Heavy rains soak city as high winds take toll.  // Clarendon Enterprise (TX);8/31/2006, Vol. 17 Issue 37, p1 

    The article reports on a storm that hit Clarendon and Donley County, Texas in August 2006. Heavy rains soaked the cities on August 27, but the accompanying high winds left quite a damage. Strong winds battered the cities before the heavy rain began. Fences and tree limbs were knocked down by...

  • Single-doppler velocity retrievals with Phoenix II data: Clear air and microbust wind retrieval... Shapiro, Alan; Ellis, Scott // Journal of the Atmospheric Sciences;5/1/95, Vol. 52 Issue 9, p1265 

    Introduces a three-dimensional single-Doppler velocity retrieval (SDVR) based on reflectivity conservation, the incompressibility condition, and a temporal constraint on the velocity field. SDVR from one to higher conservation equations; Raindrop velocity forcing; Wind retrieval in the optically...

  • Even stronger winds slam Dinétah. Yurth, Cindy // Navajo Times;5/13/2010, Vol. 49 Issue 19, pA.1 

    The article reports on the devastation of several properties due to the destructive wind gusts that have swept in Chinle, Arizona.

  • Forecasts: Paperbacks. Kaganoff, P. // Publishers Weekly;4/26/1991, Vol. 238 Issue 19, p55 

    Reviews the novel `Storm Winds,` by Iris Johansen.

  • Storm brewing.  // Clarendon Enterprise (TX);5/21/2009, Vol. 20 Issue 21, p8 

    A photograph of a forming storm captured by Justice of Peace Ann Kennedy.

  • Northeast Louisiana University. Stroupe, Jessica // Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society;Sep2000, Vol. 81 Issue 9, p2248 

    Presents highlights of the meeting of the Louisiana chapter of the American Meteorological Society on April 29, 2000 at the Northern Louisiana University. Issues discussed such as storm winds; Elected officers for the 2000-2001 school year.

  • WHAT IS A HURRICANE?  // World Almanac for Kids;2004, p291 

    The article offers information about hurricanes. Hurricanes are the largest storms. They form over warm, usually tropical, oceans. As the warm seawater evaporates into the air, the pressure drops and winds begin to circulate, creating a huge wall of clouds and rain, wrapped around a calm...

  • WHICH NIGHT NOT TO FORGET? Buchan, Ursula // Garden;Jan2008, Vol. 133 Issue 1, p12 

    This article presents information about two wind storms that caused excessive damage and loss of life in England in 1987 and 1990. The author compares the damage statistics for the two storms. She realized after the 1990 storm that the possibility of climate changes was very real. She is more...

Share

Read the Article

Courtesy of NEW JERSEY STATE LIBRARY

Sorry, but this item is not currently available from your library.

Try another library?
Sign out of this library

Other Topics